So there’s something absolutely magical about the first quart of local summer strawberries around these parts. Actually, there’s something really magical about the second quart – the first quart rarely makes it home. Joel gets it. Strawberries are a fleeting thing in the Northeast – before you know it they’re gone. In fact, I completely missed them last year due to that pesky rite of passage for new lawyers (ahem, the bar exam). So this year, I knew I had to do it up.
Obviously, some had to go into jam. A simple strawberry jam is what I was after. You know the one – strawberries, sugar, some lemon and a little pectin to make it set – thats it. The kind that takes you right back to early summer in the middle of the winter, or whenever you happen to pop open the jar. I set that second quart to macerate with the typical double berries to sugar ratio. Almost everything went according to plan – even with a new kind of pectin. It set beautifully. It even looked like Martha Stewart made it. Except… the sweetness. It was way, WAY over the top. I dont know if I spaced when macerating (it happens) or the berries just were that ripe (also possible) but it was just too much. A huge wave of guilt came when I thought about ruining that precious quart.
What’s that – necessity is the mother of invention? Apparently. I had all the ingredients of Kaela’s (er, Tai’s) Rhubarb Ginger Jam ready to go. Back into the dutch oven went the cavity-inducing strawberry batch, with an almost equal amount of rhubarb and candied ginger. For extra punch, I added in a tablespoon(ish) of powdered ginger, to ensure the jam would even up.
I’m really happy with how the jam turned out. Its still sweet, but nicely warming from the ginger. Due to its creation, though – I can’t really share a recipe – there isn’t one! I’m sure you would end up with an equally tasty version by adding some ginger to your standard strawberry rhubarb recipe. As always, if you want to put it up, add 220° jam into hot jars, top with hot, wet lids, and process for 10 minutes. [If you need a review, please buy the Ball Blue Book and check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation.] As always, you can just turn it into a fridge jam – the best way to experiment in small batches.
If you’re not a huge ginger lover like me, I would only add a bit of candied ginger to taste. And dont worry – there are plenty of simpler strawberry recipes to come. If you are a ginger lover, though, I can’t recommend this jam enough. In fact, I’m so happy with it that I’ll even send a half pint to one lucky SK reader in the US or Canada. Just leave a comment here telling me about your favorite way to use/inhale/preserve seasonal strawberries. Need inspiration? Check out last night’s #punkberry discussion started by Sean at Punk Domestics. Entries to close Sunday June 26th at 11:59pm eastern time.