June 29, 2005

strawberry jam

My friend's invitation to go strawberry picking again this year with her little boy and her idea to try making strawberry jam inspired me. There's a little sleepy town about 45 minutes from our place where we like to go. Although we didn't hit the prime season or our timing just wasn't too good, we were still able to pick and buy some of the best-looking strawberries out there. It was fun to go out there direct to the fields and pick them yourself.

My strawberry jam project yielded a few 8 oz jars like this one in the photo above. Those jams available in the market are sometimes just too sweet and just couldn't compare to homemade. And besides you have the option at home to use more berries and even reduce the sugar if you like. I chopped and didn't mash the berries but it all depends on your preference. Using the commercial pectin makes it a lot easier & faster. I remember when we had our guava tree back in Manila and my mother would make batches of guava jellies. She also used to make jellies and jams from a local fruit called "duhat". They're small, dark colored fruits which are very similar in appearance to black olives. My mother made a batch of those duhat jelly that was the right consistency, gelatine like in texture with a clear purple color. She was trying to get the same result but wasn't able to come up with the exact consistency again. Without the proper thermometer and equipment, the timing and measurements were not easy to achieve. This was just one of the many experiments my mother did in her kitchen. Some were frustrating but some were successful which brought us many happy memories of her love of cooking.

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