Saturday, November 17, 2012

Strawberry Honey Jam

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
-- Macbeth, Act IV

I'm not sure why, but the thought of making jam has always made that verse in Macbeth jump into my head.  Something about the thought of standing over a big pot of boiling fruit and sugar for hours reminds me of the three witches surrounding their bubbling cauldron full of far less pleasant things than fresh fruit and cackling away with their spells.  See the connection?  No?  Just me?  Okay then.  Can you tell I'm an English Lit student?

Anyway.  Let's make some jam today.  With fresh strawberries and honey.  Yes.

Of course, like most things on this site, this is the lazy, easier version of homemade jam so there is no actual pot or cauldron involved.  This jam can be made in 15 minutes and is made using all natural ingredients.  This requires some shortcuts: a) scaling down to only make a small batch, b) using a wide skillet with a big surface area and c) replacing sugar with honey (I'm pretty sure this also makes it healthier).

So here's what you do: mix together about 3 cups of fresh strawberries, sliced, with about 1 cup of honey for sweetness, a few sprigs of thyme (the jam won't taste herb-like, the thyme just enhances the strawberry flavor) and the juice of half a lemon.  Put this mixture into a pan with a wide surface area and let it bubble away...

...Until you get this sticky glossy mess.  Jam!

Pour this into a can/jar.  You can process the jars in a water bath canner.  I wouldn't know how to do that, but the original site I got the recipe from does tell you.  I have no idea.  Without doing the whole canning process, the jam will keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.  But it won't last that long anyway, so why bother?

Here's the deal: this jam is really good, no kidding.  Honey lends a mild sweetness that you won't get in store bought products, and nothing beats fresh strawberries.  The thyme is really subtle but gives the jam a more unique homemade flavor.  The sour acidity of the lemon balances everything out just right.  And that's all there is - 4 ingredients.

This is thyme.  I think it's rather pretty, don't you?

I took too many photos and couldn't choose.  But if you made this, I bet you'd say the same thing, too.

Homemade Strawberry Honey Jam
Adapted, barely, from The Kitchn
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

3 cups fresh strawberries, roughly sliced
1 cup (340g) honey
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Wash your strawberries and pat them dry.  Roughly slice them into chunks - no need to be neat or anything, this just makes it cook easier.  Put them in a bowl.  Put the bowl of strawberries on an electronic scale, tare it to 0, and measure out your honey straight into the strawberries (this will save you from having to actually measure out the honey directly and make a sticky mess out of everything).  Strip the thyme leaves off the sprigs and throw those in.  Give the mixture a stir and leave it for a couple of minutes for the honey to dissolve and the strawberries to become plump.

Heat a medium skillet (or anything with a big surface area) on high heat and put the strawberry mixture along with the lemon juice into the pan.  Bring it to a boil and let it cook for 9-12 minutes (mine took 12).  To test when it's done, draw a line through the mixture and if the jam doesn't rush to fill the gap straight away, it's ready.  Pour into cans/jars.  Do the canning process properly if you like, otherwise wait for it to cool and store in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.  Enjoy!

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