Summer fresh

Know what I love most about summer?  The freshness…Ontario produce-grown close to home, or at home!  There isn’t much more satisfying than seeing the bountiful harvests presented at the local farmers market–the colours, the scents, the flavours–it is easy to leave with more than you can carry to the car in one trip!

Do you allow your senses to be overloaded by the freshness of it all?  Can you feel the love that went into farming the food you will buy, prepare and enjoy?

~~Strawberry season will soon be drawing to a close (boohoo…), and it is time to make some Strawberry Jam.  So much easier than you think it will be–and not that time consuming either.  I much prefer cooked jam to freezer jam.   It does take a little bit longer, but the flavour and texture is so much better!  It is also much easier to share the fruits of your labour with those you love. (I usually will make 2-3 batches–one for us, the other to give away throughout the year!).
(also, as an aside, I know that it looks like a crazy amount of sugar in the recipe, don’t be tempted to substitute, and don’t be tempted by the “sugar-free” jam recipes either–not good…)

The best jam recipe that I have made is right inside the CertoPectin Pack–it is important to follow the directions for jam precisely (amounts and times matter much if you want your jam to set correctly…)

Strawberry Jam (cooked)

4 cups prepared strawberries ( about 2 qt. fully ripe strawberries)
7 cups  sugar, measured into separate bowl
1/2 tsp.butter (helps to prevent foaming)
1 pouch  CERTO Fruit Pectin
(Get your jars into the dishwasher on HOT or wash and place into a 250 degree oven for 15 minutes (I keep in the oven until I need them).  Let screwbands and flat lids stand in hot water on the stove until ready to use. )

*Stem and crush strawberries thoroughly, one layer at a time or pulse in your food processor.
*Measure exactly 4 cups crushed strawberries into 6- or 8-quart saucepot.
*Add sugar  and butter and  stir. Bring to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.
*Stir in pectin. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. *Remove from heat.
*Stirring for 5 full minutes, skim off any foam with metal spoon. Don’t skip this step–this is how you prevent “floating fruit”.
*Ladle into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops.
*Wipe jar rims . Cover with 2-piece lids. Screw bands finger tight.
Place on a tea towel on the counter and let sit until cooled completely.

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