I’d been waiting to make something out of The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook and once our strawberries started producing, the game was on. After a week of saving them up in the fridge, we’d gathered enough for a 2/3 recipe of “Grown-up Strawberry Jam.” Why grown-up? Not because I consider myself to be an adult. I can’t take myself seriously at all when I realize I’ve been wearing my grandma’s muumuu all day (see below.) Maybe 26 will be the year. It’s grown-up strawberry jam because this jam has liqueur in it. Also I guess because the strawberries were not the product of rhymes with bumpster biving like last time.
See that Drambuie on the stove? That goes right in the jam. And the book is right: it does add a subtle, hard to place herby note that makes the flavors perfect. Plus having a wee dram while you’re tending a hot jam pot really makes the half hour fly! Don’t judge me.
This is the first preserve I’ve ever made without pectin added, and the process was unsettlingly smooth. Rachel Saunders gives really clear indications of what you should be looking for as the jam cooks and how to test when it has reached a good setting point.
I’m not going to transcribe the whole method here because it’s complex and if you’re not familiar with jam making you should probably read the book’s introductory material before trying it out (or try a jam workshop – there’s one on the Barn Raisers calendar this month!), but I can give you the proportions I used: 2 pounds and 13 ounces of hulled strawberries, 1 2/3 pounds of white sugar, and 2 2/3 ounces of lemon juice with 1 1/3 ounce of lemon juice and 1 2/3 ounce of Drambuie added at the end. This made five 8-oz. jars of jam with a little left over.
And how does it taste? The book hypes it as “summer in a jar,” and they’re not wrong. It was a hit at a brew night we brought it to and I might or might not be eating it with a spoon straight out of the fridge.
This is the second jam where the main ingredient has come out of our backyard; the first was dandelion jelly, of course. Once we get a little more of a berry patch/orchard going, the jam process will be unstoppable!
And N. plans to make a batch of strawberry wine soon. I plan to make him blog about it.