Strawberry jam is an annual event around our house. It's a holiday! It's nearly a Holy Day. It's Household Strawberry Jam Making Weekend once every summer. We pick. We clean. We prepare. We boil. And then we jam.
I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to jam--I don't just want to make the jam I want to pick the fruit for the jam. So last weekend we picked strawberries by the basketful. (We usually pick at Swanton's Organic Berry Farm on Route 1. ) Last year we also picked cherries. We foraged the neighborhood for forgotten plums and, surprisingly, there were more than we could harvest. We also climbed the overgrown tree in our backyard for figs. Of course, we can't pick all the fruit or spices or flavors and with all respect for the strawberries-- last year's winning flavor was plum-vanilla with fig-ginger as a close second.
My husband is a recipe resister. I like to bake so I succumb to the measurements as they are prescribed in many baking recipes--we all know that too much baking soda or too little baking powder can make for a frumpy improvisation. So, we compromise. We tend to follow a few different recipes at once and make our own variation as we go.
His variation would go something like this:
- Pick the best fruit available
- clean & mash
- cook with sugar & lemon
- boil but don't over boil
- keep tasting until you get it right
- pour into jars
- submerge in boiling water
- let cool.
- Enjoy all year long.
Ah, jam. It is truly the temptress of summer fruit around our house. Sultry summery fruit seduction. Makes us weak in the knees.