Honey, I Miss You and Jamming with the Queen Bee

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I am still hearing reports of fresh strawberry overflow in many a Minnesota gardener’s kitchen. We are really having a bumper crop this year and even small backyard patches are producing gallons and gallons of berries every few days.

One of the best ways to use up lots of surplus strawberries is jamming. That is why I blogged several different strawberry jam recipes last week such as  “Sweet Heat: Strawberry Jalapeno Jam”;  “Something Old, Something New: Microwave and Crockpot Strawberry Jam Recipes” and “Taming the Wild Strawberry: Mary Lincoln’s Strawberry Jam Recipe.”   If you haven’t read those posts, check them out.

Today I am blogging my last two strawberry jam recipes this picking season. One recipe uses natural honey instead of processed sugar and the other is my personal favorite a strawberry freezer jam that comes from the kitchen of my mother-in-law.

With all of my other allergies to foods, pollen and just about everything that grows it figures that I would also be allergic to bee stings.  In the summer when the bees are flitting about a-pollinating, I  have to wear a fanny pack containing my trusty epi-pen everywhere I go.

bee

As a fashion statement I can understand the ridicule necessary to prevent a general public fanny pack fad, but I will address those who have life-threatening allergies and may be too fashion forward to carry their epi-pen.  It is better to look like a nerd than be dead.  Every summer people die from food allergies or bee stings because they did not have their epi-pens with them.  Your vanity isn’t going to do you much good in the hereafter and is of little comfort to your survivors. Keep your epi-pen with you! It really is a matter of life or death.

While I probably could eat honey, I choose not to.  So, I have never made jam with honey. Knowing that many cooks prefer to use honey as sweetener instead of processed sugar, I wanted to provide that option for strawberry jam making.  I spent some time looking for a strawberry honey jam recipe that looked like it would be fabulous.  I liked this one that combines tart apples with the strawberries and honey.

Old World Garden Farms’ Strawberry Honey Jam Recipe

6 pounds of fresh strawberries (sliced in half or quarters if berries are very large)
3-3/4 cups raw honey
2 small granny smith apples. (grated with skins on)
1-1/2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Into a large stockpot add cleaned, hulled and sliced fresh strawberries. Add grated apples, lemon juice and honey to the strawberries and stir to combine.

Stirring occasionally, heat mixture on high until boiling.  As soon as the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes, while stirring occasionally, until the strawberries become soft.   Using a potato masher, mash the strawberries until they are unrecognizable.  You can use an immersion blender for this instead of a potato masher.

Simmer for another 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The longer the mixture cooks the thicker the consistency.  This jam does not get as thick as a jam made with sugar or pectin.

Jelly

When the jam has reach desired thickness, place in freezer safe jars or containers, or can using a water bath for 10 minutes.

*****


Lois Turgeon’s  Strawberry Freezer Jam

 

strawberry freezer jam 2 in jar

I have saved the best strawberry jam recipe for last.  My favorite strawberry jam has always been my mother-in-law’s freezer jam.  It is bright red, tart and preserves the taste of fresh strawberries for my breakfast toast for months after picking season has ended.  I could and have eaten it by the spoonful and used it to top vanilla ice cream.

2 cups crushed fresh strawberries
4 cups sugar
3/4 cups water

1 packet of pectin

Crush strawberries and 2 cups sugar and let set 10 minutes, stir occasionally.

Stir together pectin and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. (Pectin may start out lumpy.) Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Once at a boil continue to cook for one minute stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.

Stir pectin mixture into fruit mixture. Stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved

and no longer grainy, about 3 minutes. ( A few sugar crystals may remain.)

Pour into containers leaving 1/2 inch space at top for expansion during freezing.

cover.

Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours until set.  Refrigerate up to 3 weeks, or store
in freezer for up to one year. Thaw in refrigerator.

 

 

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