Strawberry Jam with Bordeaux Wine & Black Pepper
Nothing beats fresh strawberry jam. I remember as a child my grandmother and I would arrange a day where we would drive to the local strawberry field and pick the vibrant red berries. I still remember the dew on the leaves of the plants, the cool chill of the early June mornings in Iowa, with the sun warming our brow as we bent down, feet cushioned by the soft soil. We would take home our baskets of treasured fruit to be prepared and preserved for the long Midwest winter’s enjoyment. Even as an adult, no matter where I am in the world, it is such a great pleasure and treat to receive a package from my grandmother’s kitchen. Inside there is always nestled a jar of her finest. This is my recipe, an adaptation. My grandmother would use pectin to create a jellied texture, which suited the canning process and would hold up well in her cellar. I prepare small batches that I merely enjoy at home and share with friends. I reduce the strawberry mixture down to a thick consistency and with the use of lemon and lime the sweet jam can stay refrigerated for 7-10 days. The short shelf life is a good reason to pop a tray of healthy scones in the oven and gather your friends together for brunch.
1/2 cup Bordeaux Wine, reduced to syrup
4 cups strawberries, diced
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons white sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
In a medium sauce pan over medium heat bring the Bordeaux wine to a simmer and reduce it to a thick syrup, coating the back of a wooden spoon. Add the diced strawberries, lemon & lime juice, fresh cracked black pepper, and sugars to the pan, stir. Bring this mixture to a boil, reducing the heat to a simmer. The berries will simmer on the stove top for 2-3 hours. Set the pan aside to cool and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, bring the mixture back to a steady simmer for at least an hour, reducing. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. If serving right away a iced water bath can be used. The consistency is based upon individual preference. The additional reduction in the morning is unnecessary if a thinner preserve is desired.