Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Nature gives to every season
a Beauty all its own
The last of the season's strawberries found their way into my kitchen and I decided I'd make another batch of my Strawberry/Jalapeno Jam or like my dear friend, Nicole, calls it...Jam for Grown Ups! The first batch I made several weeks ago had a mild "kick" of jalapeno in it and everyone I gave the jam to said, "it could be hotter." I listened...and added more heat!
This was the first summer I've played around with combinations of fruits and spices and I've come up with some good ones. The first time I made Strawberry/Jalapeno was an idea I had for a jam for our son-in-law, Matt, who eats jam on his eggs. Apparently, this is a mid-west thing and I'm not one to judge with my quirky combinations, but others I sent it to paired it up with cheese & crackers and my sister used it on panini's! Today, I sampled the "heat" with a little cream cheese spread on a cracker, but a nice cherve, brie, or even Vermont cheddar would be perfect.
As the nights turn cooler, the leaves change then, fall, it will be nice to cuddle up by a fire (in our case, a gas fire :), pour a glass of wine and enjoy the Beauty of the season.
4-5 pints of strawberries, washed and hulled
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp. unsalted butter
7 cups of granulated sugar
1 box Sure-Jel powdered pectin
6-7 8oz. jars - Prepare jars as discussed in earlier.
Prepare the strawberries and jalapenos. After washing the strawberries, I use a strawberry huller to remove the stem and core.
I like to remove the hard "core" so I have nothing but sweet berry in my recipes. Remove the stem from the jalapeno and slice in half. I removed some of the membrane, but made sure, this time, I put in the seeds from 1 1/2 jalapenos. The first time I made this jam, I only put in seeds from one-half of a jalapeno! Place the strawberries and jalapenos in a food processor and pulse until you have a puree.
You need five cups of fruit for this recipe. Place the fruit, lemon juice, butter, and powdered pectin in a large Dutch oven. I use a Le Cruset that is an enameled lined cast iron pot. I've found this provides the most evenly distributed heat to jam making.
On a medium/high heat, bring this mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the sugar, all at once and stir to combine. Bring the mixture back to a boil, then set a timer for one minute, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat and ladle into the hot, sterilized jars. Seal and turn upside-down. After 10-15 minutes, turn the jars right-side-up and you should hear them "pop" indicating they have sealed.
Jam keeps on the shelf for a year, although, between giving it out to friends and family, all the baking I do, and all the peanut butter & jam sandwiches I eat, it never lasts that long. This is definitely a combination I will make for many years to come. Enjoy!
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