All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

winter strawberry jam

I think it was 12 degrees this morning, but these January mornings blur together unless it's below zero.  Then we stand around at the post office and talk about who got the lowest reading, whose pipes burst, who is forwarding their mail to....Florida.

Wasn't that a sneaky way to slide to Plant City, Florida strawberries?  I am always overjoyed when the first Florida strawberries show up at the market in the dead of winter because Spring doesn't seem too, too far away.  And I have loved strawberries my whole life - once insisting on buying a dress when I was four years old that was printed with strawberries and strawberry leaves.  I was desolate when I outgrew that dress.  Throughout the year, I make my own strawberry jam, which takes all of half an hour for one winter jar, more if you're canning a big batch in the summer.

The easiest way to find the most fragrant berries is to turn the plastic cases over and sniff the bottom of the package .  It may sound (and look) odd, but it's the fastest way to pick out the best of the lot.  If I'm making jam that day, I leave the berries out on the counter so they can warm to room temperature.

This fills one large canning jar - I use the wide mouth ones.  Since you're only making one jar, just make sure the jar is clean, but no need to sterilize, since it lives in the fridge.

Winter Strawberry Jam

2 cups hulled and sliced strawberries
juice from two fresh lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar, warmed in a low oven or 1 minute in a microwave
a candy thermometer 

Place the berries in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, mash briefly, then add the lemon juice.  Simmer for about 15 minutes, making sure you keep stirring so it doesn't scorch.

Add the sugar and stir well, increase the heat a little bit and continue to cook until the candy thermometer registers  soft ball stage: around 240 degrees.  Take off heat and dip a spoon into the jam - it should coat the spoon well.

Pour the jam into your prepared jam jar, reserving a tablespoon of warm jam for that piece of buttered bread you have waiting.  Cap the jar and let sit at room temperature for half an hour, then place in fridge.  

Someone gave me a cutting from their enormous bay tree a few months ago which I keep beside the stove for inspiration, and that dream of a walk-in greenhouse:)


La Table De Nana said...

I like the idea of one jar:)
At Christmas I had scones and jams..that I canned up this summer..My son-in-law loved them.I plan on making jam for him now:)

Your pics are simply delightful.
I have tried twice to grow a bay tree here.. didn't do well..A client of mine had one the size of a tree..up to her ceiling..
I always tell Jacques I don't find much of a taste to bay leaves.. must be because mine are from Costco in a big thing:)
I bet you take pleasure in looking at that cutting..we're so starved for growth:)

I still like winter though.
We have had so many below zero nights and mornings this year..though...

katrina said...

Thank you, Nana! It's been so overcast lately I cross my fingers when I take a picture. Some sweet day the sun will come out - and stay out!

You and I are doing very well, considering, don't you think? Spirits middling, but optimistic:)

The lack of taste is why I snatched up that bay leaf cutting, but have only used one - I'll nibble on it tonight and see how strong it is. The bay tree is about four feet high and beautiful!

Barb said...

Am I correct that the bay tree is grown inside? Do they take it outside in warm weather?

This strawberry jam looks just luscious. When I find some good strawberries I'll have to try this too.

I am making the orange/clementine muffins this weekend - I can taste them already. :-). I'll let you know.

katrina said...

Barb - my friend is plant sitting the bay while the owner is away - it's under lights in my friend's pet food store and seems to be doing fine, to my surprise, in spite of a fairly cool temperature. It does go outside in the summer.
Making that jam in January makes summer feel a little bit closer - hope you enjoy it warm when you make it - it is heavenly!
And love that you're making the muffins!

Anonymous said...

I didn't see the ginger in your recipe?

katrina said...

Anon - I just added it to this recipe - it's simply adding a few slices of ginger root to the berries, cooking, then removing before spooning into the jar. You could leave it in, but not pleasant to bite into that tough ginger root.