Sunday, July 1, 2012

Jamming! Jamming! And I hope you like jamming, too!

I'm surrounded by strawberries and I love it! The season is in full swing in the Fraser Valley, and we spent yesterday making strawberry balsamic jam, strawberry pineapple jam, and cherry walnut relish (from the book Put 'Em Up!) 

If you click on the strawberry pineapple jam recipe, scroll down as there are a ton of recipes there. We tried the strawberry honey last year - it's more like a jam sweetened with honey than a honey with strawberries in it. I cannot recommend the strawberry balsamic jam enough. It is amazing stuff. You can use it as a jam, or you can use it with things like cheese or meats. 

We use the cherry walnut relish with beef or lamb (it's too strong for pork, chicken, or turkey) and Raymond will bake baguettes and we'll eat it with Boursin or brie cheese and the relish. It's amazing stuff. 

My new Saturday night thing is this strawberry dressing. I'm not a fan of spinach, but give me this strawberry dressing and some fresh strawberries on top, and I'll eat them. 

1/3 cup cider or white vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable or olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup pureed strawberries
1 tbsp (or less) Dijon mustanrd
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Puree the strawberries. Then add everything else. (You can go as low as 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard if you're like me and don't like it! But you need some of it as the emulsifier.) Blend. Rejoice. (As a note, the cider vinegar gives it more flavour. I used Raymond's blueberry balsamic vinegar. Freakin' amazing!) 

If you have some strawberries left over from all the jamming, consider making ice cream or a sorbet. Raymond's been making me lactose free ice cream using lactose free cream and 2% milk, and it's amazing. He makes this version from The Perfect Scoop. It's a custard ice cream that includes eggs, and it is amazing! 

Keep good notes on what you've done from year to year, recipe to recipe. You can't make a ton of changes to jam because it's important for the preserving to stay within certain guidelines, but you can make notes about what you loved or hated. The strawberry balsamic is one of my favourite jams of all time!
If you love canning, don't forget to enjoy Can-o-Rama 2012 from Friday, July 20th to Sunday, July 23rd. Although it says "Canning Across America", we'll be enjoying it here in Canada, too! And don't forget to check what's in season in you area before you plan to jam or pickle - if you can buy great big flats of things from the farmers, you're saving a bundle while supporting your local! 


Will said...

Is the strawberry balsamic thing easy for a beginner to can or is it one of those things that easily result in botulism?

I'm scared, but I might try a few if success is fairly guaranteed.

Plus, what do you use it on? Same things as say cranberry sauce?

It's so novel, I've just never heard of it, and that makes me crazy curious.

Thanks, Will

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Will. It's easy to make the strawberry balsamic jam. I don't consider us anything higher than beginners for jamming, and this is the second year we've made it! Just make strawberry jam and add the balsamic vinegar to it. (I linked the instructions and recipe to this post so everyone can enjoy it!) The jam can be used as jam on toast and other things, or you could use it with bread and cheese. We had it yesterday with Boursin cheese and Raymond's homemade bread and it was great, and I had it this morning with bread. You don't really notice the vinegar that much - there's a hint of the acidic smell, but it's more that it elevates the strawberry flavour. Definitely try it!