STRAWBERRY SEASON, A PICKLE & A JAM!
Well….it took forever, but it has finally arrived: strawberry season. This little window only lasts about a month up here, and I try to get out to the fields to pick my own, when possible. Right now, I have literally the sweetest strawberries I've ever tasted sitting in the fridge. They are so good, just by themselves, but if you’re like me (and get a bit overly excited about berry picking...), you end up with strawberry overload!
I decided to mess around with some flavors for a new strawberry jam using some fresh basil from my garden and a vanilla bean. Strawberries and basil are a match literally made in heaven. I don't prefer my jam overly sweet, so I just add sugar (unrefined) until it tastes like it’s enough. There isn't a specific recipe because, of course, it depends how many strawberries you have left, but here are a few guidelines: (1) Clean and quarter berries and let them heat up in a saucepan with a couple tablespoons of lemon juice until they start to release their liquid. (2) Once there is some liquid in the pan, add the sugar, basil and a vanilla bean and then let it all simmer until it thickens. Remember, when it cools, it will thicken up a bit more. (3) Use the stems from the basil (cause that’s where all the flavor is) and wrap them in a cheesecloth sachet. You can also tear up or chiffonade the leaves and add them to the strawberries. (4) Add some pectin powder if you like, to speed up this process. Ultimately, you can cool and use right away or transfer to sterilized jars and vacuum seal for later.
This year, I also wanted to experiment pickling green strawberries. It’s a different kind of pickling liquid then you might think - less vinegar, a little more sugar and a lot of flavor! The green strawberries turn a bit sweet, slightly tart and still retain a nice bite. These pickled strawberry makes them a perfect addition to any summer salad or cheese plate. Enjoy!
Pickled Green Strawberries
Yields 2 pint jars
2 pints green strawberries, cleaned and hulled (cut in half or sliced, if you like)
1 cup water
½ cup rice wine vinegar
2 ½ tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 ½ tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
4 Kaffir lime leaves
2 (1" x ½") pieces lime rind
Divide the strawberries between the two mason jars and set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the rest of the ingredients to a simmer until the all of the sugar, salt and honey has dissolved. Let cool to room temperature before pouring into the jars with the strawberries. Let sit in the fridge over night for the best flavor.