Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Jam It

I love this time of year. It's warm outside without being oppressively hot, the garden has been planted and the first fruits have come to bear -- literally.

My garden is my mistress; one to whom my wife bids me go. I'm continually amazed that you can throw seeds in some dirt and food pops out of it a while later.

I wonder if the affinity with crops and dirt comes from the fact that from dust you came and to dust you shall return. More probably in my case it has to do with the fact that I just love food.

The Nodlings like to help in the vegetable garden, and from time to time I let them. Their desire comes from exclusivity. I put a fence around the garden to keep out varmints and over-eager toddlers, and I'm the only one allowed in. Therefore, if I say I'm going to the garden, they want to be allowed too.

This week my girl, Blynken, said she saw a whole bunch of strawberries that were ripe in the garden. She asked if she could pick them and make strawberry jam. What a great idea!

A searched for an easy recipe and found one at funwidfud for Grapes Strawberry Jam.

The Research Department (tm) determined that you need sugar, pectin, and acid to make the chemical reaction that is jam. Basically, pectin makes it thicken and "set".  Pectin is found naturally in fruit, most notably apples and grapes. Strawberries don't have enough pectin to "set" by themselves, so you either have to buy it at the supermarket or combine it with grapes or apples.

I have no interest at present in canning, and I don't think the jam will last long enough to spoil with six Nodlings eating it night and day, so I went for the quick and easy recipe.  Because I can't leave a good recipe alone, I substituted lemon juice for the lime and didn't bother hulling my strawberries. A blender solves so much. ;-)

Since I have the small jamming kind of strawberries and not the monster fruit you find in the supermarket, I put in several cups worth. The end result was a little thinner than expected but every bit as tasty. Next time I'll throw in more grapes to offset the strawberries or just boil it a little longer.

I also have some oranges on hand, so an orange strawberry marmalade isn't out of the question. Hmm.


From funwidfud:
Red grapes-2 cup
Strawberries-10 no(hulled)
Lime juice- 1 and 1/2 tsp
Sugar-10 tbsp

1. Grind the grapes and strawberries to puree without water. If you want keep 2 to 3 strawberries without grinding, cut them to bit sized pieces and keep aside.

2. Add this puree, sugar, strawberry pieces (if using) and lime juice and cook over medium heat until it boils and becomes thick in consistency. Stop cooking when it becomes medium thick as jam thickens slightly when cooled.


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