Good Monday morning Jammers! Hope you all had a fabulous weekend…I did. Both gardens are fully planted for spring and we are looking forward to an amazing bounty in a few weeks. The home garden was fun to build, it’s our first year doing one here. In the past we have container gardened but this will be the first year for an actual bed this size. We went with a raised bed measuring 6ft. x 15ft and I have spent the last week hauling load after load of dirt from the front yard to the back yard one wheelbarrow load at a time. We tore up the old sod out front and needed to excavate 5-6 inches of dirt before we replant grass. I have never been so happy to finish a project, whew! My back is killing me but I have enjoyed building the garden and getting it planted.
Last weekend, if you recall, I bought a flat of strawberries and made three different varieties of jam. Well, I think that I have learned something about working with strawberries…I over processed my berries and none of the batches seemed to get a good set. I read that instead of hand mashing them with a fork you could pulse them in the food processor, which I did, but I over pulsed them. I had some chunks but all of my jars ended up with a liquidy clear bottom 2/3rds of the jar and the top 1/3rd was fruity. I am guessing that this had something to do with the soft set results I got. It worked out fine for the first batch, which was the Refreshing Strawberry Lime Jam, which was a medium set and I will still refer to as a “jam”. The second batch I did that day was a special request for my sweetie, a strawberry jalapeño blend I came up with. Let’s put it this way, I have renamed it from “jam” to “sauce” which is perfect for this flavor combination, anyway. We have gone through 2 jars in a week, if that tells you anything.
I focused on the intensity aspect of the strawberries, again for this batch, and looked to the jalapeños for protection. When doing our spring cleaning/cleansing of the house I also wanted to make sure to envision a strong protective bubble around it protecting my hearth and family from any negativity and ugliness that seems to be everywhere in the world right now. This sauce serves the purpose, for sure! It’s very powerful.
4 pints strawberries, hulled and hand crushed (NOT pureed)
3/4 cup minced jalapeno peppers (about 5 medium, including seeds
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 (2 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin
7 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
Preheat canner and prepare jars and lids. Combine crushed strawberries, jalapeños, lemon juice and butter in a large, deep pot and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved and mixture can not be stirred down. Stir in pectin and boil for 1 minute.
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, 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 9 half pint jars. I did 5 half pints and 2 pint jars in my batch.
This sauce is so savory and peppery but NOT flaming hot so it doesn’t leave you with a burning throat but does give you a wonderful burst of jalapeño flavor combined with a sweetness that is the perfect combination. So far it has been used in this house as a glaze for pork chops (not once but twice), a wonderful addition to warmed cream cheese and crackers and was the best sauce we have ever used with fried mozzarella cheese sticks. We were also brave and used it to dip Jalapeño Poppers in and ……eeekkkk, I just drooled on my keyboard….oh-my-gosh were they incredible! I would like to figure a way to make a salad dressing with it too…any ideas on how I could make a vinaigrette out of it? I am also thinking of brushing it on burgers at the last minute next time we grill out.
Enjoy the sauce…remember, jams and jellies are never failures they just morph into something else with another use. Waste not, want not!
Next time I will talk about my preference for sugar in my jams, butters, jellies and sauces. I do have a specific brand I prefer to use and I will share why, along with the final strawberry batch.
Till then…Be Blessed and Be Sweet!