There’s nothing quite like picking your own farm-fresh food, skimming the rows of growing produce as if you were in a grocery store, looking for the juiciest fruits on the plant. One of the best Greenbelt summer-time activities is a pick-your-own adventure. Take your kids out, set them free, and lay back in the hot summer sun, filling your basket with berries, or peas, or beans, or whatever is in season. “One for you” I say to the basket, “and one for me”. Last week, I went on an excursion to Whittamore Farms, located in Markham, Ontario, where you can pick an assortment of fruits and veggies, for seemingly endless acres. I only had a minute, so my strawberries came from the market store, but I’ve already scheduled a return trip to Whittamore’s to have my own fun! And what came out of my field trip purchase? Strawberry Jam, of course!
Jam is a perfect treat to make, because it makes use of all of those perfectly -perhaps a little too perfectly- ripe strawberries. By the time I made it home from the farm, the strawberries that had been picked fresh that morning were already beginning to get mushy, seeping through the brown paper bag, dying my fingers red. It was a perfect scenario though, the ideal excuse to make jam instead of feeling guilty for not eating the farm-fresh berries as-is. Plus, jam is the perfect way to preserve summertime in a jar, so when you’ve got the wintertime blues, all it takes is a spoonful of strawberry sunshine to brighten your mood. I don’t know if this is one of those recipes you want to experiment with. We tried cutting back on the sugar, which left our jam tasty, but a bit runny. Try this recipe, and good luck!
You want to sterilize your jars if you intend on keeping jam for longer than 3 weeks or so. You can do this by baking the jars in a 250 degree farenheit oven for 10-15 minutes, or boiling them. The lids should be placed in boiling water until you are ready to use them.
7 cups sugar
2 full quarts of strawberries
Juice of half a lemon
1 box of pectin
1. Hull, chop and crush strawberries. This step is VERY important - we left out the “crushing” of the strawberries, leaving us with a more liquid jam.
2. Mix strawberries and sugar in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Stir vigorously.
3. After about a minute, remove from heat, and add pectin.
4. Stir the jam for 5 minutes, while constantly skimming any foam that forms on the top of it.
5. Using a ladle or a funnel, pour your jam carefully into your jars, being careful not to touch the rim, so as to maintain a sterilized environment for preservation.
6. Once the jam is in the jar, seal it up, and let it sit untouched for a full 24 hours. It should be OK to sit out at room temperature, and there is no need to refrigerate it unless you have contaminated the jars.
7. Smear on a toasted cherry scone, and enjoy!