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Strawberry/Apple Jam, Topping or Smoothie Base
Cooking for One - Jams
I had the urge to try making jam but I didn't want to got through that mess I created in my breadmaker. Yes they had recipes for jams but they are a bugger to get out of the loaf tray and requires a lot of cleanup which is not one of my better skills. So off to the Internet to find recipes for strawberry jam and this one looks interesting and up pops this one.
Looks real interesting but "whoaaaaaaa"--6 cups of strawberries. That's six quarts. I'm never going to have that in the house nor would I go out and buy that much from the store. I'm not trying to make enough to go set up a booth in the local farmers' market.
But I understand, her website is targeting traditional recipe hunters and she would be cooking for a whole bunch of people on the farm. Our focus here is always just one. We can just multiply our recipes if we want to make more.
So I set out on the task to modify her recipe to make my own for one. You do end up with more than that but you start with a quart of strawberries. Maybe in future I will try to scale it down even more by purchasing just a pint of fresh fruit, adjust the honey amount, use 1/2 an apple and go from there. So we already know the 3 ingredients, Now all we need is a little bit of lemon juice and I go to the fridge for that in my bottled stuff but you could use a squeeze from a real one, if you have any.
The stuff you need
- 1 quart Strawberries, washed, cored and cut in half
- 1 Granny Smith Apple, cored but not peeled and run through the food processor
- 3/4 cup Liquid Honey
- 1/2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 Crockpot
This is simple!!
- I now wash fruits and vegetables in a big yellow bowl that I just fill with cold tap water and add a 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide. The yellow bowl shows the dirt that was removed but you won't see that the pesticides and other stuff are also not present anymore.
- I use a sharp paring knife to trim the strawberries into smaller chunks--most cut in half and the big ones get cut into quarters. I just throw out the pieces that haven't ripened yet. Put the cut up berries into the crockpot.
- The apple gets cut up into smaller pieces to go through about 15-30 short pulses in the food processor. I don't own a full blown one anymore but use the food processor attachment to my Cuisinart Smart Stick. Leave the skin on the apple. I don't peel potatoes either. Never understand why people always throw away the best part. Carrots yes because the peel is a little bitter. Put the cut up apple into the crockpot.
- Pour the honey into a 1-cup stainless steel measuring cup and then into the crockpot. Just turn the cup over and plop it on top of the fruit to let the rest of the honey drain. Honey sticks to everything!!
- Pour the little bit of lemon juice into the crockpot.
- Here's the tough part. Put the lid on the crockpot and set it for 6 hours on low if you have one of the fancy-smanshy crockpots or set your timer to 6 hours. Let it cook slowly. Cooking on high will probably burn the honey.
I don't know how long it will store for but I would think you would store it in a tightly covered container in the fridge and it will tell you when it isn't so good because it will start to ferment. Fruit and sugar is how they make wine!!!
I recently purchased a 3-pack of 2-cup clear glass storage cups with the tight sealed dark blue lid made by Anchor Hocking---6 bucks for the 3 of them. The thing about Anchor Hocking and Pyrex stuff is it works in the freezer, fridge and microwave and is made in the USA. I am Canadian but I still like to keep jobs in North America which trickles down to the Canadian economy.
That size is perfect for storing a lot of recipes you will see in this series. I like the little 1 cup guy to work pizza dough and make perogies but I think the 2 cup guy might be better for the latter. We'll get into those in another recipe(s).
Other uses and Variations
No I don't think it will cure cancer or make your complexion better. I am talking about using this jam for other food treatments since it isn't as thick as commercially prepared jams since there is no pectin used here. So I can see this used a great topping for pancakes, waffles, ice cream or frozen yogurt. I have completely switched to frozen yogurt because I am lucky enough to live in a province that has a company called Chapman's who makes both ice cream and frozen yogurt. I would put the taste of their frozen yogurt products up against ice cream parlour ice cream flavours any day. The Cappuccino flavour is way better than coffee flavoured ice cream.
Add a couple of tablespoons to 2 ice cubes, an overripe banana (last one was more like nucleur), and a cup of milk and blend it all in your blender or use your immersible blender like the attachment I have for that Smart Stick we used to process the apple.
Now back to the other thing--variations. Yep, I do ramble and the more I think about it I've got that perfect name for the TV cooking show gig---The Rambling Hash Slinger". Maybe the Food Network isn't ready for that just yet. I even have the song idea "The Rambler" which I wrote for my job as a golf course staff member but I could easily right some words that would relate to Cooking for one. The song is sung to the tune of the Kenny Roger's classic, The Gambler.
I can't see any reason why you couldn't just take this recipe and use just about any fresh fruit that you would see in traditional jams like blueberry and peach. Peel the peaches? Maybe, maybe not. And I am going to try a 1/2 cup of 100% Cane Sugar in some of the future batches. Honey isn't as sweet as sugar. Never hurts to experiment.
That's why I think there is some truth in the phrase "men make better chefs that women" but that has more to do with the job women have in feeding a family than anything to do with creativity, The guys don't have to deal with "MOMMM, where's dinnerrrrrr?" if the experiment doesn't pan out. The guy just ditches the mess and either picks up the cell phone or car keys to take care of the next meal.
I actually don't own a cellphone anymore. Maybe I'll get into that some other time. email and Facebook seem to work pretty well for me.