Friday, August 23, 2013

Strawberry Lemon Marmalade

My ultimate sandwich? Peanut butter and homemade strawberry jam...with butter on a crunchy whole wheat bread. Today I had all the components: a fresh batch of strawberry-lemon marmalade, softened butter, Sara Lee's 100% whole wheat bread with honey, and peanut butter! Whew. I was sweating the last one because the guys tend to eat peanut butter like candy around here.

Spread softened butter on one side of a slice of bread. Top with jam. Spread peanut butter on the other slice and put them together and enjoy!
I had to scrape the bottom of all my barrels to pull this one off. At first I thought I had a lot more frozen strawberries that were saved from decomposition when I couldn't get around to eating them fast enough. Strawberries have to be the number one fruit included in our weekly delivery of fruits and vegetables from SLO Veg. I think they are always in season around here. Crazy, right? I know, coastal California living is rough.

Anyway, I just had one gallon baggie in the freezer, and it wasn't that full. Good, I guess, that means somebody has been making smoothies! but I had to also use my two baskets of fresh berries, meaning I won't have any for Sunday's dessert, unless I ***cough-cough*** buy more, from the store, or maybe a berry stand. Yeah, that's it. I will go check out strawberries from San Luis Berry Farm. If I can't buy them right from the field, then they sell them at New Frontier's Natural Marketplace.

It looks like jam!
Anyway, not only did I have to scrape together enough strawberries to feed my P&J fetish, but I had to find all sources of sugar to make the six cups...four and a half-ish from the canister and another cup-ish from the sugar dispenser that I keep on the counter. I might have been a half cup short or so, but it will work. I am not sure if I had a full four cups of fruit, because I totally eyeballed it. I know they tell you not to use less sugar than called for, but it will be fine...I promise! I am now officially out of granulated sugar.

I put six half-pint canning jars in the dishwasher and set it to rinse and dry. That would be sufficient to sterilze the jars. I could take them out, piping hot, just before filling them with newly minted jam. I got out my Ball Canning Blue Book and checked out the strawberry jam recipe. Five cups berries, seven cups sugar...hmmmm...not quite gonna make it. Then just below that one, there was a recipe for Strawberry Lemon Marmalade. Four cups crushed strawberries, six cups sugar...and I had fresh lemons! Score!!!

Slicing and dicing the lemon
So I set about defrosting the frozen strawberries, cleaning and trimming the green tops off the fresh strawberries, and mashing them all together. I added the juice of the one lemon that I had just peeled and turned on the heat. I added a tablespoon full of butter and six tablespoons of pectin. I am now officially out of pectin, as well. I let that come to a rolling boil, keeping it going for a good five minutes just to be sure. Then I stirred in the sugar and brought it back to a boil. The recipe says to boil for one minute. I always boil for about five minutes, just to be sure its hot enough and all. Then I fill my jars and process them in a boiling water bath. I like that method best. As I am typing this blog, I can hear my lids popping as they are cooling on the kitchen counter. That is music to a canner's ears!

I had five half-pint jars with screw-top lids, and one half-pint jar that used to have mustard in it. That one has a plastic snap-on lid and would be going into the frig because I plan on eating the jam very, very soon. I ended up with about a quarter-cup extra jam that didn't fit into any of the jars, so I poured it into a cereal bowl to cool. It was going on to my P&J sandwich...all of it!

Recipe from Ball:
Strawberry Lemon Marmalade

Boiling the fruit
4 C crushed strawberries
1/4 C thinly sliced lemon peel
1 Tbsp lemon juice
6 C sugar
6 Tbs pectin
1/2 tsp butter

Hull and crush strawberries one layer at a time, using a potato masher. Combine lemon peel and water to cover. Simmer 5 minutes. Drain and discard liquid. Add peel to prepared strawberries.
Combine prepared fruit with lemon juice in a 6 or 8 quart saucepan. Gradually stir in 6 Tbs. Ball Original Fruit Pectin. Add up to 1/2 tsp butter to reduce foaming, if desired.Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly. Add entire measure of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Boil hard one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Makes 6 half pints. 

Its a messy, sticky job, but somebody's got to do it. Oh darn, some didn't fit into the jars...guess I will have to eat it!

Maybe I am a little weird, but I actually like making small batches of jam much more than processing a few lugs of fruit all at once. I used to think that was the way to do it, go berry-picking and bring it all home and wash it all up and make cases of other words, wear yourself out!
But after recently making jam from just a few baskets of strawberries or a dozen apricots or so, I think that is the way to go. It only takes a short while and I can do a lot more variety this way. Right now I have apricot-cinnamon jam, raspberry-nectarine jam and strawberry-lemon marmalade in my pantry, all homemade right here in my tiny kitchen. I think that is sufficient for the time being. But I still want a nap!

No comments:

Post a Comment