VeganMoFo Day 7: Basil and berries

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?

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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Comments: 12

  1. [...] Who doesn’t love a cute dress? Who doesn’t love a cute dress paired with a homemade strawberry-basil jam? Monsters, that’s [...]

  2. Maggie Muggins October 10, 2012 at 2:54 am Reply

    You, my dear, are one dedicated person. Three posts? That’s craziness! I’ve always had the desire to make my own jam but have always been afraid that I’d sterilize something wrong and kill everybody. Probably should get over that because this jam sounds fan-freakin’-abulous! Nice touch with the balsamic vinegar too!

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  3. Johanna GGG October 8, 2012 at 8:09 pm Reply

    a green strawberry dress is a thing of beauty – as is your strawberry jam – strawberries are so abundant this year that jam seems just the thing – am sure the CWA would embrace you with open arms if you brought a jar along :-)

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  4. Julie October 8, 2012 at 2:08 pm Reply

    Cheers to you for making your own jam! I have yet to venture into that realm of DIYery. And how cute of you to post a dress photo.

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  5. Mandee October 8, 2012 at 11:21 am Reply

    I never make my own jam because I am always so worried the jar won’t be sterile but I should get over that and give it a go, right?

    And that lace collar definitely makes that dress! That and the pale brown check print ;)

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  6. Sunday Round-Up | VeganMoFo October 8, 2012 at 10:16 am Reply

    [...] Who doesn’t love a cute dress? Who doesn’t love a cute dress paired with a homemade strawberry-basil jam? Monsters, that’s [...]

  7. Jojo October 8, 2012 at 8:37 am Reply

    I cannot believe we’re at the end of week one at all! Crazy! I really need to give jam making a try next summer. Strawberry basil jam sounds perfect, one of my favourite sorbets from the local gelato place is strawberry, basil & black pepper. It’s SO good!

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    • Erinwiko October 8, 2012 at 9:11 am Reply

      Woah, I love the idea of black pepper!

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  8. Mrs Pine Nut October 8, 2012 at 5:59 am Reply

    So, I NEED to know where you got those shoes.

    I keep hearing about the basil-with-fruit combo. I’m still too chicken to try it, though. But one of these days I’ll take the plunge!

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    • Erinwiko October 8, 2012 at 9:09 am Reply

      They’re from Modcloth, but like three years ago so it’s probably not helpful!

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  9. Hannah October 8, 2012 at 1:34 am Reply

    Your outfit makes my heart sing! THOSE SHOES I WANT all the shoes.

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  10. Kittee-Bee Berns October 8, 2012 at 12:22 am Reply

    So pretty (the dress) and yummy (the jam). I love the idea of adding fresh basil! Enjoy your strawberry season!!!!

    ox
    kittee

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