Monday, August 30, 2010

Ina's Easy Strawberry Jam

Whenever I plan a dinner menu, I always try to find out if any of my guests has a favorite something that I can serve. It just makes the meal more special, I think.
As I was planning the menu for a recent early Sunday afternoon dinner, I remembered that Katie had requested Cherry Cheese Tarts for dessert, but she wanted a strawberry topping instead of cherry. No problem! That's a no brainer.
 I had originally planned to use a jar of strawberry pie filling as the topping, but then I remembered seeing Ina Garten make this fabulous jam on the "breakfast party" episode of The Barefoot Contessa. After reading the DOZENS of stellar reviews under the recipe (as it's posted on, I knew this was the way to go. They all raved about how easy it is to make, even for the novice cook, and it's extremely versatile too. Use it as a topping for any sort of dessert or ice cream, in a PB&J sandwich, or simply spread it on a scone or biscuit with the perfect cup of tea. Oh, and I guess it goes without saying that it tastes amazing! Fresh ripe fruit and a little orange liqueur? What's not to love? I think this is now my "go to" recipe for jam. Can't wait to try it with other kinds of fruit! Thanx, Miss Ina, for another fabulous recipe!

3 pints fresh strawberries
3 cups superfine sugar
2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and small-diced
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Place the strawberries in a colander and rinse them under cold running water.
Drain and hull the strawberries. Cut the larger berries in half or quarters and leave the small berries whole.
Place the strawberries in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot such as heavy Dutch oven and toss them with the sugar and orange-flavored liqueur.
Bring the berry mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Add the apple and blueberries and continue to keep the mixture at a rolling boil, stirring occasionally, until the jam reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer. This should take 25 to 35 minutes. Skim and discard any foam that rises to the top. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and then store covered in the refrigerator. It will keep refrigerated for at least 2 weeks. To keep the jam longer, pack and seal in canning jars according to the manufacturer's instructions.

A few thoughts from Joey:
Many of the reviews mentioned cutting the sugar by half and reported that this gave the perfect balance of sweetness. Also, several people stated that they didn't have a candy thermometer, but just cooked it for a half hour and it turned out perfectly. And those who did have a candy thermometer said their jam didn't come up to the full 220 degrees as the recipe states.
When I made it, I also decided to reduce the amount of sugar from three cups down to two. I thought it tasted delicious, although I'd probably say the same thing with all three cups of sugar.
I do have a candy thermometer, but it only came up to about 200 degrees. It still turned out perfectly after letting it cook for about a half hour.
I didn't have superfine sugar, so I poured regular granulated sugar into the food processor with a metal blade, and processed it for a minute or so. Voila! Superfine sugar.
The whole time I was making it, I kept thinking, "Am I reading this correctly? Is there really no lemon in the recipe??" This just seemed odd to me because there's always fresh lemon juice in a jam recipe. (Well, at least any recipe that I've ever tried) I thought, well, maybe the orange liqueur makes up for it. After it was all finished, I tasted it. Maybe it was because I had lemon on my mind the whole time, but honestly, I thought "this needs a squeeze of lemon juice!" So I added the juice from half a lemon. BOOM! That's exactly what I was missing!
Not that I would ever second guess you, Miss Ina, but try adding a little lemon next time!

Oh, and one other thing...
Usually, when I post someone's recipe, I post my own photo. I took literally dozens of photos, trying to find just the right one, but none of them compared to Miss Ina's photo. So, I decided to borrow that too. I hope she doesn't mind!

No comments: