Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Homemade Jam: As Easy as Pie

Homemade jam. Go ahead, think about it. The mess, the effort, the special equipment, the self righteousness. Now think again.

If you have fruit and sugar, and you do, homemade jam is at your (sticky) fingertips. You don't have to pick the berries. You don't have to hermetically seal the end product. You don't have worry about odorless, tasteless, killer bacteria.

You don't even have to be a hipster. You just have to cook a little fruit with a little sugar.

I had some strawberries that were on their way out. They weren't even local berries, just some Big Organic (not that good for the planet, but also not that bad, right?) fruit that I had lying around, getting a little fuzzy around the edges. I halved them and simmered with less sugar than you think goes into jam for less time than you think jam cooks for.

I didn't add pectin. I didn't add rosemary or anything else that doesn't belong in jam but increasingly finds its way there.

As soon as the heat and sugar permeated the fruit, my limp, squishy strawberries transformed into vivid, cartoon like fruit. They went from looking like something that you wouldn't want to eat to looking like something that you wouldn't want to eat because you'd think they'd been dyed and thickened with cornstarch.

But no. The thick, ruby red concoction was more natural than most of the girls who went to my South Florida private high school. The berries were plump and toothsome, full of seeds that popped and crunched between my teeth. The flavor was tart and fruity, just a shade sweeter than what you might pick from the vine, and nowhere near as cloying as, say, Smuckers.

It was easy. It tasted amazing. It resurrected my fruit.


Recipe: Homemade Strawberry Jam

-strawberries that no longer look good enough to eat fresh
(about 2 cups)
-enough water to cover the bottom of the pan - no more!
-a fat pinch of unrefined sugar

1. Wash and halve the strawberries.
2. Combine all ingredients in a small pot or pan.
3. Cook until the berries are vivid and surrounded by thick syrup.
4. Cool and store in the fridge, if it lasts that long.

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TeaTech said...

visit Tea Harvesting for knowledge in tea harvesting and Tea Blog for tea related answers for your questions

Anonymous said...

wow, great post by TeaTech. Now tell me more about these plump high school girls that were full of your seed.

Couldn't resist. Anyway, that's some good looking jam.

Anonymous said...

Yum. I did a similar jam this week with blueberries, but I use a little more sugar than you do, about a cup for each 2 cups of fruit. I only made a 2 jar batch, and it didn't take any time at all.

But you're right--it's easy peasy, and unless I'm sending a jar through the mail (and thus need a tight seal)I don't bother to process them--after all, a jar seldom hangs around for more than a few days before we finish it off.

Laura [What I Like] said...

I did the same's quite a satisfying exercise I think! Have you checked out that book Well Preserved? Some great ideas in there...although she does add balsamic to her strawberries which may be a bit too un-jamlike for your taste?

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