Monday, March 3, 2014

Day Zero Project #34: Make organic strawberry jam.

The first thing that a person has to do before making organic strawberry jam is to track down some organic strawberries. Preferably not ones from Whole Foods that are going to set you back about $34/pound. Lucky for me, I happen to live in Florida and, extra lucky for me, it happens to be strawberry season.

With that in mind, we packed up the car and headed to Lithia, FL to a little organic farm called Fort Lonesome.

And how do I know for sure that this place grew organic strawberries? Just look at this sign. Hippies = much higher portion of organic goodness. And 300% more patchouli smell. Also, they say they are organic and they seemed like trustworthy people, so I'll go with it.

So after a quick walk through the onsite trail, we came across the strawberry fields where we'd be doing all of our work.

I picked a bunch of strawberries.

My wife picked a bunch of strawberries.

And pretty soon we had a two whole bunches of strawberries. Which is a good thing because I needed about two pounds just to make a little bit of jam and I needed another four pounds or so just to snack on during the car ride home, because they were delicious.

When we got home I set about taking all of those beautiful, red berries and destroying them through a series of steps showcasing my ineptitude in making jams. If you want to make your own jam at home, here's my secret: copy someone else. What do I know about making jam? Nothing.

But this person at does, so go here and use their recipe.

Basically, clean your strawberries and throw them into your blender:

Then you turn that on and hope you have a blender strong enough to turn that into strawberry liquid. Don't drink it. It's good stuff, but then what will you make your jam with?

Take that liquid, add a whole bunch of sugar, some lemon juice and boil that FOREVER, stirring it often. And by forever, I mean 45 minutes. It seems like a really long time but put some Mouth of the Architect on your iPod and it's only like 3 songs. It'll fly by.

After that's thickened up a bit, we'll dump it into a sterilized Ball jar This liquid-ish mix is good stuff but, again, I encourage you to restrain from eating it. We are trying to make jam here and we're so close. You will end up with something that looks like this that you will refrigerate until it cools and magically turns into jam.

And what to do with this delicious concoction? It's certainly too fancy to be wasted on PB&J sandwiches. A fine jam likes this deserves a fine dessert. How about some mascarpone cheese with chocolate mint and a balsamic reduction? Yep, that'll do.

Also, ignore the advice I just gave. Is there anything better than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

No. No there isn't.

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