Thursday, June 24, 2010

Strawberry Jam and Juice

I have a particular love of the strawberry. I don't know if it's because they come in abundance here or if I find them really easy to work with. Perhaps because there's no peeling or thick skin. I've made strawberry pie, but today I made some strawberry jam. This is a great refridgerator only recipe with 2 ingredients. In today's store bought jams and jellies you'll be hard pressed to find one with only 2 ingredients: Strawberries and Brown Sugar.

I started out by first rinsing and soaking my berries. You want to do this to clean them and get rid of any accessory fruit (bugs). They ended up soaking for awhile due to my being distracted by other "Mom" duties. Next, I cut off the tops and placed in my compost container and quatered the strawberries placing them in another bowl.

In the first bowl you'll be left with strawberry water which smells really nice like the Strawberry Shortcake doll. I filtered this through a coffee filter to get rid of any dirt and accessory fruit. I used some as a hair rinse on Rowan to give her hair a soft strawberry scent.

To make the jam I used 6 cups of strawberries and 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar. This is a great adjust-to-your-liking recipe. There are so many variations. You could try less sugar, more sugar, white sugar, stevia, honey, agave, or add in peaches and peppers.

I placed the strawberries in a skillet on medium heat and mashed up the fruit in the pan. You could do this before placing in the pan, also. Next I added the brown sugar and stirred together. The fruit provides enough water to creat a soupy mixture.

I cooked this at a slow boil, stirring occasionally, to cook off most of the liquid. This can be done at higher temperatures for quicker cooking but you also run the higher risk of burning your jam. I determined the consistency by taking a spoonful and ladeling it across the pan thinking, "is this going to run off the bread and down my arm?" I judged it was right when it was more of an oozy blob. It will thicken more once cooled.

My last step was to put it in a container with a lid and label what it was and when I made it. This should keep for a few weeks, but I doubt it will stick around that long at our house. Make your recipe according to how much you will reasonably use in that amount of time.

Once the hard work was over I sat and had an ice cold glass of strawberry water mixed with one packet of Stevia. Delicious!

Here's my peanut butter and strawberry jam bread. I'm also going to use the containers the strawberries came in as seedling starters because there's holes in the bottoms of the containers for water drainage. So there's four uses: jam, strawberry water, hair rinse, and seedling starters.


~ Julie

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