Good morning Jammers! Spring is right around the corner, officially, but we have been celebrating early for the past few weeks. The weather has been gorgeous and in the mid to upper 80’s over the last 3 or 4 weeks. I’ve got babies in the ground at the community garden and need to harvest out the rest of our cabbage soon. With the great weather we have had, I decided a trip down to the main Farmers Market, downtown, was in order. I mean, what better way to honor the warmth of the sun and the beginnings of our seasonal bounty from Mother Earth? We decided to meet up with some great friends that are seasoned veterans of the Market and headed out early last Saturday morning. I was very surprised and the variety and prices of everything there. I picture myself becoming a Market junkie by the time summer arrives. My goal was strawberries, which are in peak season right now, and peanuts. I came home with both of them plus a huge bounty of delicious goodies like squash, corn, mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, cucumbers, tiny creamer potatoes, green beans, onions, radishes and even a mango.
We have feasted like royalty these last few days. I also picked up a bag of limes for one of the jams I wanted to make. Turns out I only needed a few limes and ended up with a lot left over so today I made a new recipe and it is awesome! It is a honey limeade and I am in love, I can’t wait to try it as a margarita base. I spent all of Saturday with a HUGE pot of raw peanuts smothered with bayou seasoning, salt and red pepper flakes boiling on the stove. In true Southern form (my Papa would be so proud) I left them boiling all day (almost 7 hours) and they are some of the best I have ever had. We put them in freezer bags in individual serving packs and will be able to reheat them anytime we want peanuts! My Papa always had bags of boiled peanuts in the big freezers with the rest of the garden’s bounty and meats. He and my MaBert had 3 huge freezers that were always stocked in their basement. There was also a full kitchen down there for canning and shelf after shelf full of mason jars of beans, soups, jams, jellies, pickles, tomatoes and anything else you could think of to can and YES, they grew it all. I really miss those days of sitting perched on a stool watching her can. I was her audience as I was always watching her and she was always busy showing and telling me about everything she was doing whether it be gardening, sewing, cooking or canning. I would just sit by her side for hours on end watching and talking.
I spent Sunday making three batches of strawberry jams with the flat of perfect berries we picked up. I have to thank my reader, Andrea, for the idea for the first batch, a strawberry lime jam. It came out perfect and she was right, the flavors are VERY complementary. The properties of lime are for cleansing and one of the things strawberries are known for is intensity. Those traits are oh-so fitting for this time of year. We have spent our inside days, of late, cleaning and purging the house. Call it spring fever, I suppose, but it's spring and time for some deep cleaning, whether it be flower beds, veggie gardens, closets or cabinets now is the time! Strawberry lime jam is a perfect representation of our season. When I first went into the kitchen on Sunday morning to prepare my work area the first thing I did was open the windows. A dear friend of mine, Trish Telesco, writes that in the kitchen your windows represent vital energy, refreshment and winds of change. As the cross-breezes played with my recipes on the counter my mind kept thinking about how refreshing it felt and when I started zesting the limes the smell was nothing short of refreshing. In honor of that sentiment I call this one my Refreshing Strawberry Lime Jam.
Refreshing Strawberry Lime Jam
4 pints strawberries, hulled and crushed
7 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons grated lime peel
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 pouch liquid pectin
Preheat canner and prepare jars and lids. Combine crushed strawberries, lime zest, and lime peel 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. Quickly 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.
This jam is my new favorite. It has a perfect blend of flavors and a very spreadable texture. I just finished a hot buttermilk biscuit with this jam and it was heavenly. Thank you Andrea for the inspiration and the suggestion. Too bad you live so far away or you could come by the Hearth for a visit and some biscuits with jam! My sweetie has a new favorite and I will share that recipe with you next time. We enjoyed its heated sweetness last night as a glaze on 2 inch thick boneless porkchops and they were amazing…stay tuned and I will have it up in the next few days.
Till then...Be Blessed and Be Sweet!