Warmer days find me spending extra moments in the garden, searching each plant, seedling, and sprout. Today the stroll between the rows brought a basket of berries to the kitchen. Despite the chickens and my farm boy, a full quart of beautiful fresh berries are waiting.. just waiting for one of us to munch them, jam them, or top a cake with them.. stir them in yogurt or whir them in a smoothie. All this berry abundance brings me to return to last spring's post on berry jam. After all, no respectable home stead can thrive without their very own jam recipes, right?
Fresh Fruit Jam Flex-recipe
For every 2 cups of fresh fruit:
½ apple, chopped and peeled
1 ½ cups sugar
If you are using berries, mash them in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Other fruits should be peeled and chopped into bite size pieces before placing in the pan. Add the chopped apple and sugar. Cook fruit over medium low heat until the sugar dissolves; stir frequently. Simmer and stir approximately twenty minutes. Test jam by dropping a spoonful onto a chilled plate; if it gels the jam is ready for jars. This jam freezes well and is excellent when processed in a water bath canner for seven minutes.
Want to add a little whimsy? Try adding fresh chopped herbs such as rosemary or mint..a vanilla bean, or even chopped citrus peel. Our last batch had cardamon..and we plan to try anise. Jump outside the box and test some nontraditional flavor.
Note. to help seedy fruits such as berries, run the jam through a mill or fine strainer.
Whether the harvest is great or small, whether spring berries or fall figs, there is no reason not to enjoy them in our favorite treasured treats. All we need is a little flexibility to work with what we have and enjoy them as they come in. If you would rather wait and use a full recipe, simply freeze your fruits as they are harvested.
In case you are wondering, our most recent berry jam was strawberry vanilla; distinctly reminiscent of church services where my little ones were given vanilla crème savers to enjoy as they sat quietly through the services. Stay tuned, we are testing a few recipes from a new book recently purchased!