I still haven’t made that transition to feeding two instead of five. This is no more evident than when I go to the farmer’s market. Going to my favorite vendor I linger over baskets of beautiful, ripe strawberries. I pop one in my mouth, hmmmm yum, they taste as good as they look. Okay, STOP. Yes the berries are wonderful but it’s only Wes and me. Well there’s Sammy, but he doesn’t eat strawberries. I really should buy just one basket. But no, I pick up a three pack and Ruiz, who I have known for years, adds more berries on top. Well at least I didn’t buy a half flat.
A three pack is still too many berries. I read an article about a new bread baker named Josey who collaborated with Four Barrel coffee and opened a shop called The Mill. Yep, coffee and toast is their game. I love toast and I love coffee. I may be the only idiot I know who owns a cookbook all about toast. So of course I was going to have to try The Mill. I dragged my friend Mel with me to check it out. As soon as we walked in the average age jumped at least 10 years. Music played from a retro turntable and everyone else was dressed in skinny jeans, glasses, a cool slouchy hat and Vans. Yes, welcome to Hipsterville. We stood in line (yes a line for toast) got to the front and ordered. ME: “I’ll have a slice of country bread with fresh strawberry jam and a latte…. HIPSTER SERVER: Ok, that will be 8 dollars” Whaat? Ok, keep cool Deb try not to act like an incredulous old fart. Yes, I could get a bowl of noodles in Chinatown for less but sans Madonna on vinyl or copies of the New York Times to read. I have to admit the toast and jam was delicious.
The fresh berry jam at The Mill was the perfect answer for my extra strawberries I wanted a simple delicious jam like theirs. I wasn’t looking to make jam that I could preserve. No canning for me thanks to a long ago article I read in Reader’s Digest about one family’s nightmare with canned veggies and botulism. I was scarred for life.
Bingo, I found a recipe for jam that you could make and keep in the fridge or freeze and is INCREDIBLY. STUPID. EASY. If in fact I were selling a book and I included this recipe I would feel silly. But, if I didn’t tell you about it you might never know to try something this stupid easy. Luckily this blog is free. Here is the long list of ingredients you will need-strawberries, sugar, lemon juice. Thats it.
So, there you go. An easy way to use all those strawberries that you couldn’t resist. Simmer it to the desired thickness. Be sure to keep an eye on it as it reduces. Stir to keep it from sticking and burning. Mine was thick like a classic jam after about an hour on the stove. Reduce the time for jam more like the Mill’s, looser, chunkier and a little runny. I decided to add a tiny bit of vanilla to keep everyone guessing. You can also use a combination of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries which would be gorgeous and amazing. I plan to try lime juice instead of lemon or perhaps add a bit of chili flakes for some zing. Here’s to toast, homemade jam and summer.
- 4 cups halved strawberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract or paste (optional)
- 1/4 tsp lemon zest (optional)
- Combine strawberries and sugar in a medium saucepan, let it sit and macerate for approximately 10 minutes.
- Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
- Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer until desired thickness (loose and runny 15-20minutes, thick approximately 40 minutes to an hour) stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat, and stir in lemon juice and zest. A dash of salt if desired to round out flavor.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Can be stored in refrigerator for approximately 1 month or in the freezer for up to 6 months.