Looking for a special way to say “I love you” from Florida? Strawberries are in season and it’s a great time to create a special gift for the loved one in your life. Or just make it because you deserve it. Real strawberry jam is a treat and easy to make.
Try this simple recipe, which takes no time at all.
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
• 1 1/2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
Combine the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over very low heat for 10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the strawberries and continue to cook over very low heat for 20 minutes, until the strawberries release some of their juices and the mixture boils slowly. Cook until a small amount of the juice gels on a very cold plate. (I keep one in the freezer.) Pour carefully into 2 pint canning jars and either seal or keep refrigerated. Use immediately, or follow proper canning guidelines below.
Jars should be made from glass and free of any chips or cracks. Preserving or canning jars are topped with a glass, plastic, or metal lid, which has a rubber seal. Two piece lids are best for canning, as they vacuum seal when processed.
To sterilize jars, before filling with jams, pickles, or preserves, wash jars and lids with hot, soapy water. Rinse well and arrange jars and lids open sides up, without touching, on a tray. Leave in a preheated 175 degree F oven for 25 minutes. Or, boil the jars and lids in a large saucepan, covered with water, for 15 minutes.
Use tongs when handling the hot sterilized jars, to move them from either boiling water or the oven. Be sure the tongs are sterilized too, by dipping the ends in boiling water for a few minutes.
As a rule, hot preserves go into hot jars and cold preserves go into cold jars. All items used in the process of making jams, jellies, and preserves must be clean. This includes any towels used, and especially your hands.
After the jars are sterilized, you can preserve the food. It is important to follow any canning and processing instructions included in the recipe and refer to USDA guidelines about the sterilization of canned products.
Properly handled sterilized equipment will keep canned foods in good condition for years. Sterilizing jars is the first step of preserving foods.
Creating a decorative cover
After the jars have cooled down, make an easy cover following these directions:
· At the fabric store, purchase fabric remnants (less than ¼ yard) and a few yards of ribbon.
· Cut out two paper template circles,(1) One piece 2-3 inches larger than the jar lid (2) The second piece, slightly larger than the first piece, creating two pieces of fabric, one on top of the other.
· Use a rubber band to tighten the material around the rim to secure the material.
· Tie a ribbon and bow around the rim over the rubber band.
Recipe adapted from the Barefoot Contessa.