Hooray! Spring is here and so is the new baby 🙂 He’s so beautiful it’s hard to imagine I’ll be able to cook anything when I’m not fondly staring at him 😉 Anyways, I decided that in order to tie my latest kitchen creations in with what’s left of Springtime and the whole ‘sweet’ theme I’ve been experiencing lately, I would post a couple of recipes reflective of this celebratory mood.

Below I’ve listed 2 jam recipes – both using the same base (strawberries) but with 2 very different takes on this delicious Spring fruit 😀 Since making jam is so incredible easy (not to mention pretty entertaining), I’m sharing 2 recipes I made up myself, concocted in the last weeks leading up to the big arrival.

The star ingredient in both recipes is (surprise!) strawberries. Admittedly, these berries are some of the best for jam – colorful and sweet – they just scream “eat me!” every time I see them but hey, maybe that’s just me 🙂 The first of these recipes is a spicy jam version which, although it may sound a little strange initially, is absolutely delicious; I spread it on crusty bread, mix it in with plain yogurt for breakfast, and serve it alongside slices of cheese as a snack. Either way, the ‘spice’ element shouldn’t scare anyone away because a tamer version can be made by simply omitting the seeds in the peppers. The second recipe included in this post is a sweet on slightly tart combination with strawberry and rhubarb, an earthier recipe with a syrupy sweet finish. For all those who consider a little jam now and then among the finer things in life, enjoy! 😀

Strawberry-Chile Jam with Cognac

Ingredients

1 bag frozen strawberries, thawed

3 Thai chilies (or other hot red chile)

3 cups sugar

2 Tbs. pectin (or citronsyre) powder

1/2 cup cognac

1/2 lemon

(1) Chop or blend the strawberries so they’re in coarse pieces; dice the chilies but do not seed them (if you’d like your jam less spicy, then go ahead and seed them). (2) Mix the strawberries, sugar, chilies, and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan. Cook until bubbling over medium-high heat until water burns off, about 8-10 minutes. (3) Add the cognac and pectin, stirring often, another 5-8 minutes until jam has thickened and coats the side of a spoon. (4) Juice the lemon into the jam and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. (5) Spoon the jam into glass containers and let come to room temperature before refrigerating. Serve with anything from bread, meat, cheese, yogurt, scones, or ice cream 🙂 Keeps chilled in the fridge over 3 weeks.

Serves 6

White Wine Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam

Ingredients

1 bag frozen strawberries, thawed

3 rhubarb stalks, coarsely chopped

3 cups sugar

2 Tbs. pectin powder

1 cup white wine

(1) Heat the strawberries, sugar, rhubarb, and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling; cook until water burns off and sugar dissolves, about 8-10 minutes. (2) Transfer to a blender and pulse until smooth, return to saucepan and reheat, adding the white wine and pectin. (3) Cook another 8-10 minutes until jam has thickened and coats the side of a spoon. (4) Remove the jam from heat and let cool. Spoon into glass containers and let come to room temperature before refrigerating. Serve with crackers, cheese, on toast, or with chilled cream for dessert 🙂 Keeps in the fridge over 3 weeks.

Serves 6

So this has been my experience with jam-making of late and seriously – god bless berries…jam would simply not be the same without them 🙂

My question:

what fruit & wine combination works great for jam?

The next venture in preserves I’ll be undertaking will be blueberry-grappa jelly, from a recipe I found in Cucina La Italiana, which sounds ridiculously delici0us and sweet, but we’ll have to see..

5.19.12

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