There have been so many strawberries in the stores recently. I thought it might be strawberry season! Well not quite, I’m not sure where these came from but it seemed the perfect time to make some jam and practice for when the local ones get here. That being said….Strawberry jam is not my favorite….it’s Jason’s favorite. I’m pretty sure if you placed all the different types of jam in front of me my last choice would be strawberry and I might be too full to get to it. Don’t get me wrong, I adore fresh strawberries. So why in the world am I making strawberry jam? One word….LOVE. He loves it and I found a recipe interesting enough to get me excited about it!
This is what got me so excited! Lemon and lemongrass are added to the jam!!!!! You probably know that I love lemon. If you don’t know….I love lemon. Adding it to strawberry jam sounds so right. And lemongrass has the word lemon in it, and smells heavenly and like lemons, so that has to work well, doesn’t it? Oh and this is based on a Christine Ferber recipe. She is a well known jam maker who has unusual flavor combinations, which of course appeal to me. I believe she also makes pastries, so….a woman after my own heart.
For the jam:
- 2 qts chopped strawberries (8 cups or 2 liters)
- 3-4 cups sugar
- 2 Tb lemon juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 10 paper thin slices of lemon
- 10 lemongrass leaves cut in half
- 15-20 tellicherry peppercorns (optional)
I, of course, used Meyer lemons (they are my latest obsession until I get my hands on some buddha palm or yuzu!) I chopped the strawberries into the size I wanted in my jam. I poured about 3 cups of sugar over them, crushed the peppercorns and added them, stirred it all well, covered the bowl in plastic and put in the refrigerator overnight. You can skip this step if you don’t have time but I think it combines the sugar & strawberries really well, releases alot of the juice and just works! The pepper is very subtle. You can add more but it will change the flavor a bit. The amount here just adds hints of undertone to the strawberry flavor. You can also leave it out.
Slice your lemon paper thin. Add the lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar and water to a pot that will be big enough to hold the strawberry mixture (about a 6 qt pot). Bring to a simmer and add the lemon slices. Simmer until translucent, about 15 mins.
WARNING: People who have experience canning are very particular about how they prepare the jars and they sometimes pressure cook them etc. I am not so particular. This is the method I used, you can use it or do the more complicated way.I washed my jars & tops in the dishwasher, spooned the hot jam into them, screwed on the tops and placed the jars into a pot of hot water. The water covered the jars by about 1 inch or so. I then boiled them for about 5 minutes, removed the jars from the water with tongs and let them cool.
How did it turn out? Fantastic! So delicious! Jason thought it was the best strawberry jam he’d had and I thought so as well. My favorite part is coming across a slice of lemon in the jam, it adds a slight tartness but tempered by strawberry sweetness. The lemon enhances the strawberry perfectly.
I gave a jar or two away but now we are going through this rather quickly. I will be making more with the local berries. I can’t wait! There are local berry farms where you can go pick your own if you want. I’m also going to have to find a blackberry jam recipe as this is my favorite.