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It’s a heady time when the first strawberries start to come in during late April, when most of NC’s crop is sold at farm stands and farmers’ markets during the spring. But that could change soon. More farmers are using high tunnel production methods to extend the strawberry season. Soon we could see local strawberries at the farmer’s market during winter!
For now, look for firm and aromatic berries free of blemishes. When you’ve eaten your fill, and the bucket isn’t empty, think about preserving them. Use the berries that are slightly blemished, but still tasty, to extend your strawberry enjoyment with jam, and get the most bang for your buck.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Makes 1 pint jar (plus a little extra for your bowl of ice cream)
1 ½ cups (11 oz.) sugar
1 lime, about 1 teaspoon zest and 3 tablespoons juice
3 ounces of raspberries
4 heaping cups capped and quartered strawberries, about 2 lbs
Don’t be intimidated by making jam! If you can turn the stove on, you can make it. This jam has the soft spreadable texture of an old-fashioned preserve because it doesn’t have any added pectin. If it’s a little runny for your taste, pour it over pound cake or ice cream. It will still evoke the essence of strawberries in a jar!
Put a small plate in the freezer. Cut the top off the strawberries and quarter them. If you would like smaller chunks of fruit in the jam, thinly slice the berries. You should have about four heaping cups of quartered berries.
Add all the ingredients to a 3-quart saucepan. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Continue cooking at a rolling boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 15 more minutes until very thick, stirring occasionally.
Remove the plate from the freezer and place a small spoonful of the jam on the plate. Place the plate back in the freezer for one minute. Remove the plate again and turn it on its side. When the jam is very thick and flows very slowly, possibly not at all, it’s done.
Keep jam in the refrigerator for up to one month. Want to keep it on the shelf for winter? Check out this website for more
jam canning info: freshpreserving.com/tools/waterbath-canning
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