Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Eating Outside the Box - Take 2
Summer is being its usual, furtive self here in the Pacific Northwest. While the rains shower, the chilly breezes blow, and clouds roll over us, we keep hearing that ever-so-hopeful saying: "Summer starts on the 5th of July." And it looks like that may be the case this year. Again. Sigh.
But. Here and there we spy a few glimpses that summer is upon us, contrary to all atmospherical evidence. Check these beauties out:
The loveliest of lovely summer fruits, in this gal's humble opinion, straight from our CSA box. Almost too pretty to eat. Almost, but not quite.
With the bounty of strawberries we received, I decided to make my first attempt at jam, a new move for me. And I am so happy I did. Now we'll be able to savor these gems for months to come. (Provided I can stash away the jars, before they get devoured.)
I found a marvelous recipe on Food in Jars for a vanilla-infused strawberry jam, with just a little bit less sugar in it, than the standard recipes. Don't worry, it's still shockingly sweet, you'd never know the jam is a couple of cups shy of the usual amount. There is a delightful hint of vanilla in the background, as well as a wee tease of tartness, from fresh lemon juice. And Oh. My. Word. It's some damn fine jam. Not wildly different from ordinary strawberry jam, which would possibly offend the Mister, as that's his favorite kind...but just different enough to make it perfect.
I did have a time getting it to the setting stage, it took way longer than the suggested amount of time in the recipe. But then I went here, and learned some good things about getting jam to set properly. The main key for me, was to bust out the thermometer, and wait until the temp read 220 deg F. And Voila! That was it. Perfectly sweet, perfectly set, jam.
I'm feeling just a teensy bit proud, I must admit. And ever-so-slightly hopeful that I can manage to successfully can a few other goodies this summer.
Go visit Food in Jars, and make this jam. I'm telling you. Damn fine jam.