It is summer and fresh fruit abounds. This allows for one of my favorite activities: jam making. Every year I tackle a new jam recipe or two as well as make my usual favorites like my Bourbon Peach Jam. As I have told you before, ever since my teen years I have been making jams and jellies.
There is one story I always think of when I make jelly. When I was young, my sister and I would go to have weekend visits with my Gram and Pap. We would do all the things that grandparents and grandkids did together; we played putt putt, ate ice cream, and stayed up later than we are allowed at home. We were spoiled at Gram and Pap's. In the summer, we would sleep on the porch and look at the stars. During other times of the year, we would sleep in the guest bedroom in our little single beds. When we would get all tucked in, my Gram would light a candle and tell us a story. One of my favorite stories that she told was of her Mom, my Noni making jelly. She would start by telling us about how hard Noni worked and what a strong woman she was, then she would begin to talk about the jelly. Noni was making grape jelly and as she was stirring the pot she looked out of the window to see the family cow had gotten out of its fence. She went out into the yard in such a hurry, she forgot about her jelly. By the time she corralled the cow and got back into the kitchen, the jelly was burned in the bottom of the pot. Back in those times, that was a big loss for a family who was on a very fixed income. I can imagine her disappointment.
I am not sure why but I was always so enthralled by this story. Maybe I saw the grown-up me being like my Noni. Maybe I saw my jelly making days ahead. I am not sure, but that is one story that I never got tired of hearing. Of course, my grandma was a great story teller and kept us hanging on every word.
After her story she would stand up kiss each of us and head downstairs. As she went, she would say "Good Night Mrs. Calabash." And my little sister and I would reply, "wherever you are." To this day my sister and I say this to each other! Although I don't see them everyday, my family is my staple.... wherever any of us are.
Strawberry Prosecco JamI saw this recipe last year and I wanted to make it so bad but it was past strawberry season here in South Carolina. Yes, I could have gone to the local grocery store and gotten some berries but I really wanted to capture the sweet taste of local berries at their prime. So once again a recipe went into the archives, waiting for the perfect time to be mastered. And surprise!! I remembered I had it.
I am so glad that I made this. All of the tastes come out in this jam. You really taste the prosecco and can even get that hint of citrus.
6 cups strawberries (cleaned, tops removed and cut in quarters)
1 cup white sugar
zest of 3 lemons
2Tbsp. lemon juice
1 750 ml bottle of prosecco (about 3 1/2 cups)
- In a large bowl, stir together strawberries, sugar, zest and lemon juice. Allow these to sit for 1 hour.
- Transfer contents to a large, heavy bottomed stainless steel pot. Pour the prosecco over the fruit mixture. Stir until foaming has stopped.
- Turn stove on medium and allow to come to a low boil. Stir frequently. Reduce hear if you feel anything starting to stick to the bottom of the pot. This could burn easily.
- After 1 hour, test doneness by adding a small dime-sized drop onto a frozen plate. Wait 20 seconds then tilt the plate. If it runs freely, it needs to cook longer. If it barely runs, it is done.
- Continue to boiling jam until it passes the run test.
- At this point you have 2 options
- You can freeze the majority while leaving a small amount out for daily use.
- I chose to can the jam. To do this I sterilized 4 half pint jars along with their lids and rings in a boiling water bath. I then ladled the hot jelly into the hot jars. I adjusted the lids and rings to seal. I then boiled them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Please make sure that you wait until the water is boiling before you begin your timer. Remove them from the water and allow to cool. Listen for the "pop" to make sure that your jars have sealed. If they do not make sure to eat that jelly within one week and keep refrigerated.