Strawberries are back with a Vengeance!

Spring Strawberries! Yum!
Last Friday, I ran over to the Old Oakland Farmer’s market during my lunch hour. I work near Jack London Square, so it’s a quick trip. I was shocked by the amount of farmers selling beautiful, ripe strawberries! Somehow, I had though of strawberries as more of a summer fruit, but I took one bite and bought a whole flat. These were juicy, sweet-tart, and huge! They are the type of strawberries that are red to the core, and really taste perfect on their own.

So what to do with all these Strawberries? Make jam, of course! I’m getting ready to sell at the Underground Market on Saturday in San Francisco, so I’ve been working like mad to make sure I have enough of the old favorites (Dilly Beans, Jardiniere Pickles, Pear, Honey and Lemon Verbena Jam), as well as bring some new flavors to the table. I decided to experiment with two types of Strawberry Jam. I’ve always loved rhubarb, so that was a no brainer.

Fresh Rhubarb stalks for jam
I picked up some rhubarb, did some online research to confirm methodology (this was my first attempt at preserving rhubarb), and then got started. First, I cut the rhubarb stalks into a dice and cooked them with a little bit of water until they softened. They are very firm, and take a lot longer to break down than the strawberries.

Rhubarb ready to cook down
Then I added the chopped strawberries and cooked until they softened. All I added was organic sugar to taste, lemon zest, and some Pomona’s pectin to ensure it gelled. Because I use no-sugar pectin, my jams have much less sugar than usual. If you use fresh, ripe, organic, local produce, there isn’t much else you need to do. The rhubarb adds a lovely tartness to the strawberries. Come taste at the market on Saturday!

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

The other half of the strawberries went into making another first attempt, Strawberry-Basil jam. I missed documenting the process, but it’s really easy–I just made a standard Strawberry jam, but added a chiffonade (that’s rolled basil leaves chopped, to make long strings) of basil at the end. It add a lovely note of basil to the jam…again, you’ll have to come by and taste at the Underground Market on Saturday…see you there!



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