Andrew and I had another lovely, long weekend at home, just catching up on stuff like housework, hobbies, and our Netflix. Among my projects, making jam for the first time ever!
For my maiden voyage in jammin', I picked strawberries. I love all berries, but a ripe strawberry is like proof that the world can't be that bad of a place. They're just wonderful. I bought six pounds of strawberries, cleaned and hulled them, mashed them, and then added 5 teaspoons of lemon juice and a touch of some delectable sherry vinegar. For pectin, I opted for the venerable Pomona's Universal Pectin, which allows one to use little or no sugar. Because strawberries are already so sweet, I added just one and a half cups to the six pounds of berries.
In addition to a big jar of jam in the fridge that I didn't even bother sealing because I planned to dip into it immediately, I got about 9 small sealed jars. Enough to carry me through the winter and spring, when the days are dark and a taste of summer is a real mood-lifter.
One of the things I quickly learned is that strawberries foam a lot when they're cooking. For jam purposes, you want to skim that foam off the top before canning. But I didn't want to toss the foam, so I set it aside, and when it was cool, I used it to make a Strawberry-Rhuby cocktail. Rhuby is a liqueur made by Art In The Age of Mechanical Reproduction, and it's their newest offering, rounding out previous releases Root (root beer liqueur) and Snap (gingersnap liqueur). Andrew and I recently invested in the trio for mixology experiments.
The Strawberry-Rhuby cocktail is so simple—just a few spoonfuls of strawberry jam, some club soda, and a bit of the Rhuby, with ice. It tastes like strawberry-rhubarb pie, sans crust.