I can’t believe it’s already more-or-less mid-June. Could summer be going by any faster?I feel as though just last week I was scrambling to get last minute assignments in, make it to work barely on-time, and squeeze in treasured moments between flour-dusted palms and sore wrists. Now, every move I make feels lethargic. Yet, time seems to be slipping away faster than ever. Despite all the time I have (or don’t have), I catch myself trying to bake, cook, blog, and heck, even live between sips of coffee and laundry loads. The only thing, recently, that I’ve found worth truly slowing down for and just enjoying (besides the good weather, perhaps), is this amazing strawberry jam.
Everyone has a favorite jam; though mine is actually blackberry, strawberry happens to be the next runner-up. It’s classic, timeless, and has a tendency to remind everyone of their childhood. For me, jam reminds me of my nanny, a second mother, Adela, who used to live with us in our house in Vancouver, Canada. We had prickly bushes of lush blackberries lining an entire side of our street, Rosemary St. She would either wake me up to go blackberry-picking with her or venture forth alone, since my excitement always waned after the first few cuts and scrapes. Upon her return, there would be buckets overflowing with blackberries and she wouldn’t hesitate. Not even for a moment. The whole house would begin to swim in its fragrance and sweetness. Not a single person could resist sniffing their way into the bustling kitchen; it truly was Adela’s kitchen.From blackberry popsicles to blackberry juice to my beloved blackberry jam, Adela always knew how to put a smile on our blackberry-stained lips. Now that I’m older (or old enough to reminisce a little), I get nostalgic and crave that jam and Adela’s presence. Since this jam keeps for up to 2 weeks and my first batch disappeared so quickly, I’m looking forward to re-visiting this recipe and sending over a jar to her in Los Angeles. I’m sure it’ll bring the biggest smile on her strawberry lips as it will to anyone else who gets to try this delicious treat. I doubt I’ll be buying store-bought jam again, unless absolutely necessary! Try it for breakfast on a bagel with cream cheese or some buttered bread, or why not put a little in some plain yogurt to give it an extra special zing.Easy Strawberry Jam
Adapted from Ina Garten
3 pints fresh strawberries
2 1/2 cups superfine sugar
2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and small-diced
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- Place the strawberries in a colander and rinse them under cold running water. Drain and hull the strawberries. Cut the larger berries in half or quarters and leave the small berries whole. Place the strawberries in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot such as heavy Dutch oven and toss them with the sugar and orange-flavored liqueur.
- Bring the berry mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Add the apple and blueberries and continue to keep the mixture at a rolling boil, stirring occasionally, until the jam reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer. This should take 25 to 35 minutes.
- Skim and discard (or reserve and eat for childhood’s sake) any foam that rises to the top. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and then store covered in the refrigerator. It will keep refrigerated for at least 2 weeks. To keep the jam longer, pack and seal in canning jars according to the manufacturer’s instructions.