Sunday, August 19, 2012

Strawberry Habanero Jam

It's strawberry season!  It really doesn't last that long for fresh local berries in season.  I know you can get them almost year round trucked in from other, warmer places.  But nothing compares with fresh, local berries.

I do buy them at local farmer's markets, but must admit I buy them at Costco in the big 4 lb pack of organic berries for $5.99.  It's just kind of hard to argue with that.  The thing I have learned, is you better buy them and then use them quick.  Strawberries are highly perishable, and there is nothing I hate more than waking up in the morning to yesterday's purchase of berries all molding on your counter!!!

I have made two batches of this jam in the last couple weeks.  The first was a bit of an experiment, and I did it without added pectin, and guess what?  I had about 6 jars of Strawberry Habanero SAUCE... not bad I guess, but not what I had in mind.  I had even canned them and processed them in a water bath, hoping eternally that it would miraculously thicken over night.  Nope... so I did it again. 
Opened up my newly canned jars, dumped it into a stock pot again and washed all the jars and got new tops ready to go... oh yeah,, and added 3 oz of the liquid pectin.  Success, and wow, was that yummy! So yummy, I needed to make more if I was going to share this.  I briefly thought about not sharing the second batch, but that just ain't nice, ya know?

(Ummm... I forgot the SUGAR... geez, and this is an awful picture!)

Makes about 4 pint jars, or 8 8 oz. jars

4 cups fresh strawberries, sliced and slightly crushed
1 tsp. orange zest (optional)
2 large habanero chilies, stemmed and seeded, then minced
7 cups white sugar
3 oz packet of Liquid Pectin

Wash, hull and slice the berries. Hulling is just a fancy name for taking off the tops, in case you were wondering.

I used my food processor to slice my berries with the slicier attachement, which made short work of that job.  It doesn't matter if it mushes them up a bit.

Next, get ready to chop up the habaneros.  Be careful these will hurt if you touch you eyes, ears, nose or anything else....
When you are done chopping, wash everything TWICE to make sure you have gotten it all off your hands and utensils.

I used a bag to cover my hand while I chopped them up.  I minced them up in the food processor (now with the chopper blade in the bottom) and added them to the berries and the sugar in a 6 qt stockpot.  

Over medium high heat, mix the sugar, berries and the habaneros until the sugar melts and the jam comes to a full rolling boil.  Add the liquid pectin (I used Certo) and bring back to a rolling boil for ONE MINUTE.  This is important.  Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the burner. Ladle into hot jars and process as you normally do...

I'm not going to tell you all how to can jams, because this site does a great job.

Here's another recipe I do for regular Strawberry jam (without pectin).

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