Ever since I have made my way on over to Virginia, I have had a lot of foodie firsts. Sure, I have always canned due to my CSA, however it wasn't until I moved here that I was able to take part in the "picking" process. Many of you may remember my first jaunts with peach and apple picking. Yet, this season would be my first in terms of strawberry picking.
When I first read that the fields were open early this year, (Darn you global warming! But hey, thanks for the early produce.) I jumped at the chance and knew that I must get there in order to ensure the best that the picking fields had to offer and with my camera in tow, I ventured out to the farming land's in Virginia Beach (Yes, it is true. There are farms in Virginia Beach!). Where I drove 40 miles to get my fair share this past Wednesday. Which seemed to be the perfect day due to the lack of people picking the fields. Which meant I got the best that the fields had to offer that day.
I was very excited to learn that Cullipher Farm is the only strawberry picking field in Southeastern Virginia that is certified organic. Which is awesome in my book because let's not forget that strawberries have very high pesticide residues and are on the dirty dozen list.
Although it was quite cold while picking, it truly didn't deter me. I wanted those strawberries because I have some big plans on what I am going to do with them and of course I will be sharing them with all of you. Let's also not forget that amazing Strawberry Pie with Basil Mascarpone Whipped Cream from last year either.
Since many of you do know that I keep bees, it may come as no surprise that I will be using honey in conjunction with many of my recipes that will be involving strawberries. When I first picked these berries, the first thing that popped into my mind was Strawberry Honey Jam!
This jam is perfect because it is natural (which pectin is a natural ingredient, it just depends on what type of pectin.) and naturally sweetened. Perfect slathered on whole wheat toast with ricotta or with a spoonful over ice cream. Enjoy!
Makes 8 half-pint jars
8 cups of washed, hulled and crushed strawberries
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons Classic Real Fruit Pectin by Ball
1. Sterilize your jars and lids. If you are unsure as to how to do so, reference this post.
2 Prepare the strawberries: I used a potato masher to mash my strawberries as I like to have some chunks in my jam. Although doing this does make the jam a bit inconsistent as some of the fruit floats to the top. Or if you like a smoother jam you may process them with a food processor.
3. Combine the strawberries, honey, lemon juice, lemon zest and pectin in a stainless steel pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occassionally and boil for 1-2 minutes.
4. Scrape off the foam and ladle the jam into the sterilized jars leaving a 1/4 inch head space. Run a knife around the inside of the rim to loosen up any bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jars and apply the lids.
5. Return the jars to the boiling water that you used to sterilize the jars. Make sure the jars are covered by an inch or two of water. Put the lid on and process the jars for 10 minutes. Afterwards, turn the stove off and take the lid off and let sit for 5 minutes then take out of the water. In about an hour the lids should have sealed and press down on the center of each to check. If the lid still pops up, it is not sealed and that jar must be refrigerated and used within two weeks. If it is sealed and the lid does not pop up, you have successfully canned your jam and the jam will keep for about one year!