Monday, September 20, 2010

Strawberry Margarita Forever Jam

Hello Jammers…welcome back! Are you ready for the work week? I had a very relaxing weekend and was treated by a friend to an evening at the spa on Saturday. I was steamed, oxygenated and massaged and I feel great…so relaxed and energized! I am still amazed by this whole blogging experience…After 9 days I was at 300 page views (according to the built in counter on Blogger) from 5 different countries. Wow! I have been networking and it looks like it is paying off, heh. If you know of anyone who may even be slightly interested in canning please share this page with them. If I can do it, anyone can. I also wanted to let you know I put a card in the mail to MaBert with pictures of my first two batches of jam and thanked her for being my inspiration. It was a perfect card that said “You are the seed of my success” on the front. She is not on the internet so I have to snail-mail her the pictures. I miss her so much and know that she longs for the good-ole-days as much as I do. I loved sitting on a stool watching her can. I remember coming in from the woods (me, my brother and 2 cousins were fort bulders) and we would each bring in a handful of wild blackberries we found and she would either make as small as one jar of jam for us or she would make her famous blackberry dumplings for dessert that night. She could make jam from any amount of fruit we happen to bring in, one, two, three or more jars. Sometimes she would use baby-food jars for her jams. I have not seen this done anywhere else, have you? I wonder how she got the lids to re-seal? I also know she ALWAYS put paraffin on top of each jar before putting the lid on but I read this is not done anymore…hummm, I wonder why?

Here is the final recipe to bring you up to date on what I have made so far. I have to make a quick run to the store tomorrow, when I wake up, for some liquid pectin and rum extract and then I will be starting on my next batch, Banana-Rum Jam. Stay tuned, I should have it up by Wednesday.  This recipe is for Strawberry Margarita Jam. Strawberries are associated with love and luck while sugar is a representation of love and lust. Apples are associated with love, healing and immortality while lemon juice is for longevity, purification, love and friendship. I associate tequila with health and longevity since (as my friend Renee pointed out) tequila is made from the heart of the blue agave plant and it is harvested after 12 years of growth. I would conclude that this jam would be good to ensure a long, healthy relationship or marriage. Remember that love has many forms, not just for our mate. You can love your job, your parents or children, your friends, your pets, your life or just about anything that makes you happy. Love is good for the soul, in any form! So, go on…love someone or something today and share some of what I am calling my Strawberry Margarita Forever Jam.

Strawberry Margarita Forever Jam

6 cups of halved hulled strawberries (about 3 ½ 1lb containers)
2 cups (about 2 medium) chopped peeled tart apples
¼ cup lemon juice
4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
½ cup tequila
½ cup orange liqueur

Preheat canner and prepare jars and lids. Combine strawberries, apples and lemon juice in a large, deep pot and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens, about 25 minutes. Test the mixture to see if it has reached the setting point, or gel point, which is 220 degrees. If it has been reached, stir in the tequila and orange liqueur. Return to medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 5 minutes, stirring all the while.

Remove pan from heat and quickly skim off any foam from the top. Ladle the jam into the hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean damp cloth and add the lids and rings, turning the rings until just finger-tight. Place the jars in the preheated canner and bring canner to a full rolling boil. Process jars for 10 minutes (adjusting according to your altitude, if necessary) then remove canner from heat. Let canner sit for 5 minutes, then, carefully remove hot jars from water with a jar lifter and place them on a towel on the counter and leave them undisturbed for 24 hours. Check the seals before storing and use within 12 months.

Makes about 6 - 7 half pint jars.

Now, again, I was not thrilled with this jam, texture-wise. The flavor is good but it seems very thin, so I recommend it as a topping either for ice cream or on oatmeal or even Cream-Of-Wheat. I have been known to add a small dollop of grape jam to my buttered grits so I bet this would be good with them too. I do plan on trying this one again one day, as well, and will maybe use some pectin to help with the texture. I know that apples have a high natural pectin content so maybe I will place the peels and cores in a cheesecloth bundle to boil with the mixture. I will re-post it with any changes when I do it again. I also noticed that when it has been refrigerated you taste the orange and the strawberry but the tequila flavor is not as strong as I would probably like it to be, so I will try increasing that too.

Tomorrow’s recipe uses rum extract as opposed to actual rum so we will see how that flavoring works. I don’t recall ever seeing tequila extract though, have you?  Okay, Banana Rum, here I come!

Till then...Be Blessed and Be Sweet!

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