Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer fresh

Know what I love most about summer?  The freshness...Ontario produce-grown close to home, or at home!  There isn't much more satisfying than seeing the bountiful harvests presented at the local farmers market--the colours, the scents, the flavours--it is easy to leave with more than you can carry to the car in one trip!

Do you allow your senses to be overloaded by the freshness of it all?  Can you feel the love that went into farming the food you will buy, prepare and enjoy?

~~Strawberry season will soon be drawing to a close (boohoo...), and it is time to make some Strawberry Jam.  So much easier than you think it will be--and not that time consuming either.  I much prefer cooked jam to freezer jam.   It does take a little bit longer, but the flavour and texture is so much better!  It is also much easier to share the fruits of your labour with those you love. (I usually will make 2-3 batches--one for us, the other to give away throughout the year!).
(also, as an aside, I know that it looks like a crazy amount of sugar in the recipe, don't be tempted to substitute, and don't be tempted by the "sugar-free" jam recipes either--not good...)

The best jam recipe that I have made is right inside the CertoPectin Pack--it is important to follow the directions for jam precisely (amounts and times matter much if you want your jam to set correctly...)

Wash your jars in the high heat setting of your dishwasher just before jarring, and you can skip the "water bath" step altogether!

Strawberry Jam (cooked)

4 cups prepared strawberries ( about 2 qt. fully ripe strawberries)
7 cups  sugar, measured into separate bowl
1/2 tsp. butter (helps to prevent foaming)
1 pouch  CERTO Fruit Pectin

Get your jars into the dishwasher on HOT.  Let screwbands and flat lids stand in hot water on the stove until ready to use.  STEM and crush strawberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. Measure exactly 4 cups crushed strawberries into 6- or 8-quart saucepot. ADD sugar; stir. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon. LADLE immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. 

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