This project was actually inspired by some insanely cheap swing top glass jars I found on the Crate&Barrel clearance sale. Before I knew it a set of 6 were in my shopping cart and then whoops they showed up at my door a few days later.
I think I have a particular affinity for little bitty bowls, glasses, jars, etc. because in the event that an experiment fails, it’s already in a very small portion. OR in the event that it’s a delicious success, small portions make it feel like a rare delicacy.
Sure, we’ll go with that.
Strawberries are all the rage in SoCal right now and these beautiful, giant, bright red strawberries were on special at wholefoods so strawberry preserves became the intended occupant of my mini swing top jars.
Everything seemed to be going swimmingly. Aside from a personal tendency to burn things required ‘constant stirring’ (well they can’t possibly mean constant stirring can they? I always think. Turns out, they do). And then I threw some basil leaves in the pot.
You didn’t think I could just make classic, simple, strawberry jam did you??
And in all honesty I think the results were more successful than not. I was pretty worried there for a bit, as the jam was thickening up and the basil scent was way overpowering that of the strawberries
2 lbs. fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
1 ¼ c sugar
Zest and juice of a large lemon
½ tsp vanilla
small handful large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Put the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven over medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved use a potato masher to mash the strawberries, leaving some larger chunks (because that makes the best kindo f jam).
Increase the heat to high and bring to a full boil. Using a candy thermometer, boil and stir constantly, and until the jam reaches 220°f
NB: Stirring ‘constantly’ here was a direction I took with a grain of salt. Which resulted in my having to carefully scoop the un-burned jam off the top when finished, leaving the thick, black layer of burned-beyond-repair strawberries on the bottom, and spending the next three days alternately soaking and scrubbing my best heavy pot. Jus’saying.
When you have about 5 minutes left of boiling, toss in the basil and continue to stir. The basil smell will be very strong. I was a little worried the taste would be equally as overpowering but by the time the jam cooled the basil taste softened nicely with the strawberries.
When the jam reaches temperature, or at lest thickens to a point where it coats a spoon and looks delicious enough to eat, remove from heat and ladle into jars.
If you’re going to consume the jam right away, like within a couple of weeks or so, there’s no need to process the jars, just seal and place in the fridge to cool.