Years (and years) ago we treated my parents to a Mexican dinner at the first new Mexican chain restaurant in Columbus. Their traditional mid-Ohio baloney and cheese taste buds landed in an emerging mid-western enchilada and salsa world. They didn’t like it. Never ones to sugar coat an opinion they were pretty much loud and clear with their “bleck!” Oh well.
I have a friend who won’t mix her savories and sweets. The fruit should be on the fruit tray, the lettuce with the other vegetables in the salad bowl, and the sweet glazed or spicy pecans just don’t belong with anything, let alone in a salad of combined greens, berries and pecans.
Fruit and chocolate? I think it’s a great combination but I know a gal who believes that fruit and chocolate were not created to go together, ever.
For some, food is a means to an end. For others, it is an exciting journey. For most, it’s a little bit of both.
Strawberry Jalapeño Jam
- Karen!? Blech! Yuck!; or
- Karen, sounds interesting (with a little eye roll); or
- Karen, tell me quick, how do you make this? What do you do with it?
I spoon it over mahi-mahi, swordfish or chicken and oven bake it. I melt the jam and brush it over fish or meats as a glaze just before I pull it off the grill. I spoon it over a block of soft goat cheese or cream cheese to serve with crackers as an appetizer. And sometimes I make it into a grilled cheese sandwich. I call it a Jamwich and you can find it here.
You may not want to spread this spicy and sweet jam on your morning toast or drizzle it over a buttered biscuit but, then again, you may.
Preserving jam is totally safe and not difficult and well worth learning. It’s a bit of a science with a reward that is SO worth it.
To ensure a properly processed product, I recommend that you read up a little or watch a YouTube how-to before you start. This link to the National Center for Home Food Preservation | How Do I? Jam and Jelly is great! So’s the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. If a jar doesn’t seal properly I refrigerate it then find a way to enjoy the sweet goodness of minimally processed preserves.
Last summer I canned six half-pint jars of sweet and spicy homemade strawberry and jalapeño pepper jam.
I stocked my pantry with a variety of my home canned goods made from fruits and vegetables and meats grown and raised by local Ohio farmers. This jam was the first to go up on the shelf.
I experimented and learned for a season. Now I’m ready to begin again with this summer’s crop of fruits and veggies.
Sweet and Spicy Strawberry Jalapeño Jam
makes about 6 half-pints
(Doubling recipes for jams and jellies is not recommended.)
6 half-pint canning jars with their lids and rings, a boiling water canner, a large saucepan and a jar lifter. If you don’t have a canner, you can use a stock pot with a lid. Google it to find out more. It’s helpful to have a canning funnel and ladle but not necessary.
Prepare the Ingredients
- Wash and trim the strawberries and cut away any too green or bruised areas. Discard any that are too overripe. Clean and mash (or slightly food process) enough fresh strawberries to equal 3 cups.
- 3/4 C minced jalapeño peppers with membranes and seeds (Wear protective gloves. Using more membrane and seeds will increase the heat. Using less decreases the heat. I used everything but the stems.)
- juice of one lemon, or just under 1/4 Cup (1 Tablespoon lemon juice per cup of fruit pulp is the rule of thumb.)
- 4 C sugar (1 cup per cup of fruit)
- 1 T butter
- 1.75 oz powdered pectin by weight
- Set the washed rings aside.
- In your boiling water canner or large stock pot, cover jars and lids with water and simmer, not boil, for at least ten minutes until ready for use.
- Combine the mashed berries and diced peppers in a large saucepan. You’ll have close to 4 cups of fruit.
- Add lemon juice
- Bring to a simmer and stir in pectin
- Add 4 cups of sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar then boil hard for 1 min until you cannot stir it down.
- Stir in 1 T butter
- Remove the pan from the heat and skim off any foam.
- Ladle into hot drained jars leaving 1/4 inch space between the jam and the top of the jar. Wipe the rim with a clean, damp cloth, affix the lid to jar and screw on the ring until fingertip tight.
- Process 10 min in a water bath. Adjust processing time for altitude.
- Remove jars to a rack or a towel and cool.
The lids ping as they seal. After about 24 hours, check the seal on each jar by pressing on the lid. The lid on a well sealed jar will not pop up and down.
Check out these links off-site to learn more about home canning: