After two and a half days slow-cooking in the sun, the jam is done!
This is an incredibly concentrated strawberry jam – essence of strawberry, if you will. The recipe (from Eden Waycott’s Preserving the Taste) is quite simple:
- one flat (12 pints) of strawberries
- 5 cups sugar
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
That’s all! You wash and hull the strawberries, sprinkle the sugar on them and let them sit (covered, in the fridge) overnight, then add the lemon juice and boil everything for five minutes. (The sugar draws the juice out, so you don’t need to add any water.) Then you pour it into a full sheet baking pan (or two regular kitchen baking sheets if you don’t have a pan that large) and set it out in the sun, covered by a screen, for 2-3 days, bringing it in at night (to prevent hilarity with nocturnal critters, and absorption of water from dew). When the syrup just starts to wrinkle when you draw a spoon through it at the edges, it’s ready to put into jars.
To give you an idea of how concentrated this is, 2 flats (24 pints) of strawberries got reduced down to eleven 12-oz jars plus about 1/2 cup of leftovers – which is 8.5 pints. So, roughly, 3 pints strawberries = 1 pint of jam. Essence of strawberry!
And, of course, I bought the strawberries at the farmer’s market, after systematically tasting every stall’s strawberry offerings, to get the most intensely flavored fruit. So this stuff is pure heaven.
Of course, Mike and I don’t really eat jam (we avoid sugar and grains), so most of it is destined as gifts to friends and relatives. However, I’m saving at least 2-3 jars for its other (primary) culinary use, my strawberry-and-balsamic-vinegar truffles at Thanksgiving time. The jam makes the flavor positively divine.
Very little else (well, relatively speaking) has gotten done on the project front this week – the customer for my primary project (at work) is visiting today, and since I am doing all the arrangements, I have been running around like a maniac trying to get everything ready for their visit. But I hope to get more done on Friday, and over the weekend.
Onward and upward!