Cardamom Strawberry Jam
I keep making these veiled references to what I made with my strawberries from my CSA posts and my strawberry picking expedition. I suppose it's time to finally write about it!
First of all, happy belated birthday America (and congrats to the US womens' soccer team!)! I spent my July 2nd mostly going through my strawberries and baking/cooking with them. I made a batch of strawberry cupcakes for our July 4th celebration!
ZNS also asked me to help him out with some cupcakes on July 4th to (a) increase the number of cupcakes and (b) provide cupcakes for people who don't like strawberries. We had fun making them -- ZNS made the cupcakes themselves from a Cake Doctor recipe, I made the frosting and we used the Cake Doctor's suggestions with some of our own ideas to decorate them!
I decided to put some red and blue gel food coloring around the frosting bag to create the color and ZNS added the yellow sugar to make them look like they were actually exploding like fireworks.
I vote for vanilla cupcakes -- the strawberry ones were VERY sweet and the strawberries weren't my favorite.
Besides the other half quart bag of strawberries I froze, the ones I ate throughout the day, and the ones in the cupcakes, I made the rest into jam!
I have only made jam once in my life before this summer. When I was younger, Mimi and I went to a AMC lodge a few summers in a row and tried things like hiking, origami, hiking with llamas and alpacas, magic, painting/art etc. One summer we were there during blueberry season, and we went blueberry picking with a few other ladies. Afterwards, they wanted to make jam! The crew (croo?) at the lodge were more than happy to lend us the kitchen, and we made jam. (Don't ask me where we found the jars.) I had been intimidated since, mostly because I remembered all the boiling of jars going on. But a few weeks ago, Mom S. gave us some homemade strawberry rhubarb compote, and I was inspired to try making jam by myself for the first time!
I found a recipe for a small batch of jam on pinterest (shocking!) and decided to go with it! The directions were totally step by step (and good for a canning newbie like me!).
I also had this dream of adding cardamom to it. I'm not sure where the idea came from, but I do love my cardamom.
I made a double batch the week I picked -- it filled up about 4 4-oz. Mason jars, plus 2 8-oz. jars. I spread them around to our parents and neighbors, and I ate the leftovers! I was very much concentrating on the canning process, so I didn't get many pictures.
Then I decided that I should make some to put away for holidays to be mentioned later. So I made more, and managed to take more pictures. Hence why I waited so long to write the post.
Anyway, I'm going to try to describe the whole water canning process, but I highly suggest you go look at either Pretty Hungry or the Pioneer Woman's canning tutorials. They did a great job talking me through it!
Also, for you canning newbies like me, I was able to make this recipe with only 3 pots: a 8 qt. soup pot, a 1 qt. saucepan and a 3.5 qt. saucepan, a large serving spoon, tongs, a wooden cutting board (to put the hot jars on) and some silicone pot holders. The part I found the hardest was putting the filled jars back into the pot.
Cardamom Strawberry Jam
Adapted from Pretty Hungry
2 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1-2 tsp. cardamom (to taste)
1/2 tbsp. butter
4 cups sugar
1/2 packet liquid pectin
Set the jars (only the jars) into the large soup pot, and fill with water so that there are a few inches above the tops of the jars. Place the flat part of the lids into the small saucepan and cover the lids with a few inches of water. Place both onto the stove and heat to a simmer.
Meanwhile, mash the strawberries and add the strawberries, lemon juice, cardamom and butter into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil.
Add the sugar to the boiling mixture all at once. Stir and bring back to a hard boil (meaning it does not stop boiling when you stir it). Allow to boil for 1 minute.
Add the pectin all at once, and stir to incorporate. Bring to a hard boil and boil for 1 minute, 15 seconds. Remove from heat.
Skim the foam off the top and put it to the side.
Carefully, using tongs, remove one jar from the simmering water. Pour out any water inside, and fill the jar with strawberry mixture. Use a wide-mouth funnel if you have one. There should be 1/4 inch of space above the jam in the jar (this is important!). Clean the edges and threads of the jar of any jam with a wet paper towel or cloth.
Take a lid from the simmering water, and place on top of the jar. Screw the ring onto the lid only until you begin to feel resistance. (It won't be tight.)
Repeat until all the jam is used. If you do not fill a jar up to the 1/4 inch requirement, or have leftover that doesn't fit into the jars, keep these in the fridge.
Return each jar to the large pot of simmering water. Bring to a boil and cover. Allow to boil for 12 minutes.
Carefully remove each jar from the boiling water, and place on a flat surface. Allow to sit, undisturbed, for 24 hours. The lids may pop -- this is the seal forming and normal. After the 24 hours, check the seal on each by testing if the flat part of the lids gives when pressed. If it does, keep these jars refrigerated. Tighten the rings on the rest of the jars, and you're done!
Makes about 32 oz. jam. (I made 8 4-oz. jars or 4 4-oz. jars with 2 8-oz. jars.)