I need a hug… And a picnic in the park. And while these things may sound odd to you, its totally how I’m feeling right now.
Hug and a picnic. Is that too much to ask?
So what does one bring to a picnic other than a blanket and a basket?
Ah, yes – There should be goodies in the basket.
I vote for fried chicken and wine. Let’s keep it fancy. Fried chicken isn’t fancy, I know. Would you prefer a baguette and some cheese? A Comté, perhaps? Or a nice, spreadable gorgonzola?
I can be fancy.
But no, I really want fried chicken.
Fine… We can have a baguette.
How about some jam? We can spread gorgonzola on baguette slices and top it with some jam.
I dig berry jams. The second berries line my produce aisle I pounce like a tiger attacking its prey.
I don’t play.
I put them in a pot; sometimes sliced in half , other times whole. Whatever. I add some sugar and cook them down until they’re a nice jammy consistency. Jammy is a word. I say it here all the time, yo.
You can use any berry combination. I went with a strawberry/blueberry combo. But you can go raspberry/blackberry or strawberry/blackberry. It’s your choice. I go with the ration of 1/2 cup of sugar for every pound of fruit.
Because the point of fruit jam is to highlight the fruit, not get sugar wasted. I make a fairly large batch, then divide between a few mason jars. I enjoy my jammy jam with peanut butter, or my new favorite – Grilled cheese.
I need a hug and a picnic. Followed by some fried chicken, a baguette and cheese, some nice red wine, and berry jam.
The simple things in life…
Hull and slice the strawberries. Feel free to leave some strawberries whole once they've been hulled. I leave about half to 3/4 of my strawberries whole.
In a large saucepan, combine the strawberries, blueberries (or whichever berry combo you are using), sugar, vanilla bean paste, lemon juice, and water.
Cook over medium/high heat bringing the mixture to a boil for about 5-7 minutes or so. At this point there should be a decent amount of liquid coming from the strawberries.
Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking, stirring every few minutes or so to ensure the mixture does not stick to the pot. Cook until the liquid has reduced and thickened, and the berries are very soft, about 50-55 minutes.Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10 or 15 minutes or so. The jam will thicken as it cools.
At this point you can either blend it until smooth or leave as is. I like my jam chunky, so I leave as is.
Ladle the jam onto 5, 8oz jars. Seal the jars and allow the jam to come to room temperature before placing in the refrigerator.
Jam will last about 2-3 weeks.