There’s a lot of hype around eating locally and eating seasonally, and I’ll admit that I try to do just that. Eat seasonally, that is. Because if you eat with the seasons (that you live in) you’ll likely also be eating from reasonably nearby farms.
So this past weekend while tooling around Yolo County with my friend Ally from A Girl and her Fork, we came across a strawberry stand…and then another fruit and vegetable stand…..and when we couldn’t resist the berry’s call….. we decided then and there to make jam.
I managed to get a whole flat of what is known as “jam berries”–you know, the ugly ducklings of the strawberry field, the overripe, the slightly bruised. But those berries are just perfect for jam. Sweet, ripe, juicy and perfect.
Of course, you have to start with hulling them all, which is kind of a drag. I find the best tool for this job is a grapefruit spoon.
This is my favorite jam (for canning) to make as far as pure fruit is concerned. Fruit, sugar, lemon and liquid pectin.
This recipe is from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, which I can’t recommend enough, especially to beginning jam-makers or canners. It’s totally simple. If you can boil things and stir a spoon into a pot of boiling things, then you’re pretty much good to go.
Of course, there’s always the water-bath portion of canning but it’s easy. And once you’ve done it a few times it’s like second nature.
And one more little tip? If you make more than one batch (and yes, you should make it in batches and not double the recipe), you can pour all the remnants into a small leftover jar or container and just refrigerate it and eat it immediately.
Toast and jam makes an excellent dessert as well as breakfast.
Simple and Quick Strawberry Jam
3-3/4 cups crushed hulled strawberries
4 Tbsp lemon juice (I use bottled for consistency)
7 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch (3 oz.) liquid pectin
In a large, deep, stainless steel pan, combine the berries, sugar and lemon and bring to a rolling boil, while stirring constantly so that it doesn’t burn. When the boil cannot be stirred down, add the pectin and boil hard, stirring constantly for one minute. Remove from the heat and skim off the foam.
Ladle the hot jam into the hot jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars and place the hot seals on top. Screw the band on fingertip-tight.
Place jars in canner, ensuring that they are covered with water. Bring to a boil and process 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. After 5 minutes remove jars and let cool.