Sunday, July 5, 2020

ChezCindy: Mixed Berry Jam with Basil

I held a small dinner party this past week, finishing the evening with a sweet treat of berries and a beautiful cake from Joy Cho Pastries .  Perfect together.  The next day, I realized I had way too many berries leftover.  I decided to combine the berries and make a summer jam.  Making jam sounds like a daunting task but it is quite easy to do.  And the results are fruitful and rewarding.

I used a combination of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and sweet cherries, tossing the berries together, with a few sprigs of basil.  The jam tastes like summer in a jar.  You can use any mix of fresh fruit, and/or herbs being optional.  The basil gives a subtle back note of balance to the sweetness of the fruit and sugar.  Lemon juice is the natural pectin, which also adds brightness to the jam. 

Mixed Berry Jam with Basil
2 pounds of fresh ripe berries
2 cups of sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 sprigs of fresh herbs, optional

Rinse the fresh fruit, patting dry with paper towels to remove the excess water.  Cut the larger strawberries into pieces, removing the stems, leaving small berries whole such as blueberries or raspberries.  Add the berries and sugar into a medium-sized deep pan.  Stir to combine.  Place the pan over medium-high heat.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring a few times to bring together.  Add in the sprigs of herbs and the lemon juice, stirring to combine.  Maintain the mix at a steady boil for about 15 - 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Using a candy thermometer, test the temperature of the jam, looking for the mix to be 220 degrees.  If you don't have a thermometer, use the cold spoon test.  Place a metal spoon in the freezer to chill it.  Dip the cold spoon into the jam.  Using your finger, swipe a line across the back the spoon.  The line should hold clear and clean with the jam staying somewhat thick in texture.  Remove the pan from the heat, allowing the jam to cool slightly in the pan. Stir the jam to find the sprigs of herbs; remove and discard the herbs.  Ladle the jam into jars, covering with lids to seal.  Allow the jam to cool in the jars on the counter.  Once cool, keep the jam in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

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