It’s officially winter. Part of me loves winter-I grew up in California, in the uber-temperate Bay Area, and despite what many Bay Area natives will tell you, winter doesn’t really exist there. Yes, it gets colder. Sure, you have to wear a jacket. But until I moved to Boston I never had to buy a winter-specific jacket, never had to fully change my wardrobe (my CA winter wardrobe consisted of summer clothes with the addition of tights, boots, and jackets), and never had to deal with snow.
When I first moved I was wary. I had no idea what kind of jacket to buy. My classmates (most of whom were from the east coast) made fun of me. I didn’t mind. I probably would have made fun of me too. The truth is that I grew to love it. I like snow, and the freezing temperatures, and the excuse to drink warm alcoholic beverages on a cold winter night. I like wool and I like to knit warm hats for me and my friends. I like subsisting on stews and roasted meats, and I like watching the snow fall outside my bedroom window.
That being said, sometimes a respite from the freezing temperatures and the gray weather is necessary. Sometimes it’s nice to create a bit of summer, enjoyable even, even if it’s just you in your kitchen, making jam from frozen strawberries.
Strawberry Jam for Wintertime
1 16 oz bag of whole frozen strawberries
1 C sugar
Skin of 1 tart green apple
1 tsp lemon juice
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Sprinkle of ginger
First you have to let the strawberries defrost a bit, so leave the bag out on the counter for an hour or so. Or, if you’re in a hurry (like me), throw it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until the berries aren’t as hard.
Put the strawberries and the sugar in your pot and just allow them to sit for about 15 minutes. Don’t turn the heat on yet, just coat the berries in the sugar and let them get all sugary.
Mash them with a potato masher. If you don’t have a potato masher, use a fork.
Bring the jam to a boil on a medium heat setting. Boil for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the lemon juice, the cinnamon and ginger, and the apple peel.
The apple peel is a natural source of pectin. The more you learn, right?
Return to a rolling boil and stir until you can’t stir down the boil anymore. It should be really bubbling away. Boil for another two minutes.
Turn off the heat source and check to see if the jam is set by using the back of a frozen spoon. If you look closely at the image above you can see a line drawn in the jam on the back of the spoon. That’s how you know it’s ready.
Ladle into jars.
At this point, you can choose to process it in a water bath if you like, or you can just stick it in the fridge. I chose to just keep it in the fridge. This recipe only make a little bit of jam and I was planning on using it right away. If you WANT to water process it, you need to have the correct canning jars. Finger tighten the rims and process in a water bath-a rolling boil-for about 10 minutes. Remove from the water bath and cool for 24 hours. Check the seals on the jars to make sure they are tight, then store.
And there you have it. Delicious jam for the wintertime; guaranteed to lift your spirits.