I can’t believe we’re already at the end of the first week of VeganMoFo! How is everyone holding up? Despite this being my third blog post for the day (what is wrong with me?), I’m feeling good! But maybe that’s just the delirious exhaustion talking.
Today’s dress takes me to full-blown old lady territory- my favourite kind of territory! I decided to fully embrace my inner desire to one day join the Country Women’s Association (where I will judge cake shows and be unnecessarily critical of young people’s efforts), by making jam!
The type of jam was an easy choice. There’s no being abstract when picking out food to match this dress, since it already has strawberries on it!
Why the strawberries are green is beyond me. Frankly, I was too taken with the little lace collar on this dress to care.
But a theme is a theme, so I decided to slip some unexpected green into my strawberry jam, too. I went with basil here, and I’m pretty pleased to say that it worked out for the best! The basil isn’t overpowering, and gives the jam that ‘hey, what is that?’ quality that I always love.
I also made use of a little trick that I picked up during testing for Vegan Pie in the Sky, and added a generous splash of balsamic vinegar. While I’m lucky that strawberries are in season and at their best here at the moment, the balsamic boosts their flavour even more. I’m not a fan of sickly sweet things, so I love the punch that the balsamic adds to this jam.
Of course, this is best enjoyed on freshly baked bread. We’re still sold on Bryanna Clark Grogan’s crusty no-knead bread in our house!
This recipe made enough for me to fill three 250ml jars. But the great thing about jam is that there’s no such thing as too much. I can’t wait to still be able to enjoy the flavours of fresh strawberries and basil in six months’ time, when seasonal berries are a distant memory.
The other bonus? Learning to preserve foods and hearing the pop of a sterilised jar creating a seal is super satisfying (mainly because I regard each pop as another personal triumph against botulism).
I’d like to think that this jam would get the Country Women’s Association tick of approval. But if not, at least I looked the part, right?
- 4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
- 2 cups sugar
- Zest and juice from one lemon
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup finely chopped basil
- Servings: 3 250ml jars
- Difficulty: medium
- Wash and sterilise your jars and lids, and keep hot until ready to use. I ran mine through the dishwasher, then boiled for ten minutes and placed upside down in the oven (set on a low setting).
- Combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat to dissolve the sugar, and bring to a boil.
- Simmer the mixture until it reaches around 105 degrees Celsius (220 degrees Fahrenheit), skimming off any foam that forms on top. Test the jam by placing a small plate in the freezer for a few minutes, then dolloping a small amount of jam on the plate. Return to the freezer for a few minutes. Poke the jam- if it wrinkles, it's ready! If it behaves more like a liquid, it needs some more time.
- While testing the jam, add 3 tablespoons of basil. Mix and taste the jam (let it cool on a spoon first!). Add extra basil to taste, if necessary.
- When the jam has reached the desired consistency (ie. passed the 'wrinkle test'), carefully ladle the jam into the hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top. Close the lids, and process the jars in boiling water for ten minutes.
- Remove the jars from the water, and place on a tea towel to cool. Keep an ear out for the telltale pop, but don't touch the jars for at least 12 hours, to ensure a good seal.
- Keep sealed jars in the pantry for up to a year. Any jars that didn't seal properly can be kept in the fridge and enjoyed within a couple of weeks.