I’m in love with fruit, and summer is a great celebration of it.
The other day I went to a you-pick farm “out in the county” and picked eight pounds of strawberries in hardly any time at all, while Steve took a nap in the car. We ate a lot of fresh strawberries over the next few days, and gave some to friends and put them in our yogurt and granola and in our salads too.
But I still had plenty left over to make a small batch of fresh summer jam.
Anybody who’s made jam knows that it takes an appalling amount of sugar. Even the low-sugar jams require a significant amount, needed to preserve them.
But if you plan to eat it right up, you can make a nice loose summer jam — between a sauce and a jam — with just a little bit of sugar. I was inspired by Nigel Slater’s marvelous book, Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard.
So, I crushed about a pound-and-a-half of strawberries in a good size pot, added a quarter-cup of sugar (you can add more to your taste — Slater uses 1/2 cup) and a couple squeezes of fresh lemon juice. I cooked it over medium heat for 15 or 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming off the pink foamy stuff. When it thickened up (it doesn’t really set like regular jam) it was ready. It kept well in the fridge for a few days, but I liked bringing it to room temperature or even warming it up to serve.
I swirled this crimson strawberry jam into vanilla yogurt for dessert (it would be lovely with whipped cream or ice cream as well) and served it on buttered toasted baguette to our friends. I put a little jar of it in the freezer to see if I could thaw out a taste of summer sometime in November.
Now there was just enough jam left for breakfast this morning.
That jam seemed to call on me to make a batch of biscuits.
A Sunday morning in summer, with biscuits and fresh strawberry jam. Yum.