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. Â 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! Â You wash and hull the strawberries, Â sprinkle the sugar on them and let them sit (covered, in the fridge) overnight, then add the lemon juice and boil everything Â for five minutes. Â (The sugar draws the juice out, so you don’t need to add any water.) Â 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). Â 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. Â So, roughly, 3 pints strawberries = 1 pint of jam. Â 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. Â 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. Â However, I’m saving at least 2-3 jars for its other (primary) culinary use, my strawberry-and-balsamic-vinegar truffles at Thanksgiving time. Â 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 Â running around like a maniac trying to get everything ready for their visit. Â But I hope to get more done on Friday, and over the weekend.
Onward and upward!