Strawberry Orange Conserve *Out-of-Stock* We’ll be making more soon.
8oz Jars~$12 ea, 4oz Jars~$7ea
Who can resist mounds and mounds of freshly picked spring strawberries? Not me! Our local Santa Rosa farmers market has them in abundance. A half flat of strawberries is the same price as three individual baskets, so why not indulge?
Plus…it’s country fair time where homemade, hand-crafted preserves, pickles, vinegars, breads, cakes, cookies, and other treats are showcased for fairgoers to get inspired by. As I mentioned in my Honey Rose Petal Preserves post, I decided to participate in the 2010 Marin County Fair…with these two jams as well as in the Art & Photography Exhibit.
LOVE making preserves & jams! The seasonal fruits, the colors & fragrances, the pretty glass jars, the creative possibilities, and giving them as gifts… My personal challenge was to find a yummy strawberry jam recipe. Some fruits’ flavors ~ blueberries for example ~ are enhanced by cooking….other fruits lose some of their fresh flavor palette when cooked, such as strawberries IMO.
With several nice preserve-making cookbooks in my kitchen library, I found an interesting recipe in ‘A Passion for Preserves’ by Frederica Langeland for “Old Time French Strawberry Jam.” Decided to improvise by adding diced candied ginger as suggested in an on-line recipe I came across.
Participating in the 2010 Marin County Fair prompted me to learn what the difference is between a jelly, jam, preserve, conserve, and marmalade. Do you know?
Briefly (you can find more on-line):
JELLIES are made with the fruit juices, are contain no fruit pulp, and are perfectly clear.
JAMS contain mashed fruit pulp distributed evenly in clear syrup.
A PRESERVE has small, uniform pieces of fruit distributed evenly throughout the clear syrup.
MARMALADE is a preserve made from one or more citrus fruits.
A CONSERVE is a medley of mixed fruits made in the style of preserves.
Old Time French Strawberry Jam
An Old Time French Strawberry Jam transforms into a prize-winning Strawberry Orange Conserve with a touch of candied ginger!
* 2 pounds (2 quarts) organic Strawberries
* 4 cups of organic Sugar
* Peel of 1 organic Orange
(in one long strip OR diced depending on whether you want the rind in your finished jam or not)
* Juice of 1 organic Meyer Lemon (save rind, seeds, white pith for pectin)
* Diced candied Ginger, added to taste
COMMENT: I used 5 pieces. Twice as much would make the ginger more pronounced.
* 2 Tablespoons Cointreau (optional)
YIELD: About 5 cups (5-8oz jars)
~ Wash the berries. Drain as dry as possible.
Cynthe’s TIP: Put them on paper towels & pat dry.
~ Remove the stems & caps. Cut into small, similar size pieces.
~ Mix gently in a non-reactive metal or ceramic bowl with the sugar, orange peel, and diced candied ginger. Let stand overnight to macerate.
The next morning:
~ Transfer to a wide, deep, non-reactive (stainless steel or enamel) pot.
~ Add the lemon juice. Tie the chopped lemon rind, seeds & white pith into a piece of cheesecloth as a natural pectin source. Put the cheesecloth packet in the pot.
~ Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Then cook over medium heat, stirring until set (30-40 minutes).
~ During cooking, skim off the foam and discard to keep the finished jam syrup clear.
~ In the meantime, sterilize the clean washed jars in a 200F oven for 10-15 minutes, while soaking the jar lids in boiling water in a metal or ceramic bowl.
COMMENT: These sterilizing techniques are SO much easier than doing the whole clumsy, deep water bath, boiling routine!!
~ After cooking, add the Cointreau, a tablespoon at a time to taste. Rather than using Cointreau, I diced the orange peel into the conserve instead.
~ Ladle into the hot, sterilized jars, leaving a 1/4 inch of headspace for the vacuum seal.
~ Wipe any drips from the jars with a dampened dishcloth. Put the lids in place and tighten down.
~ Invert the jars, tap firmly (but not hard) on a padded surface to release air bubbles. Let sit for 5 minutes, then return to upright and cool completely.
COMMENT: You may hear the jar lids ‘POP’ as the vacuum seals forms while the jars cool.
~ Check the seals, label, and store in a cool, dry cupboard or pantry.
COMMENT: Opened jars or jars that don’t form a vacuum due to a poor seal need to be stored in the refrigerator. Properly sealed jam jars will keep for a year or two. After that the flavors become flat and insipid.
The final phase of my jam projects is label design.
This is a trial-and-error, learn-by-doing design process. I’m still working out the graphic approach I want for my labels, as can be seen in the difference between my ‘Meyer Lemon Marmalade‘ label design compared to the more recent ‘Honey Rose Petal Preserves‘ and this ‘Strawberry-Orange-Ginger Conserve’ labels.
I like pictures of a jam’s fruit ingredients, so I take those photos, first. I tried piling up the fruits (right), but knew it looked humorous and too peculiar. Plus all the strawberry texture was monotonous. Assessing the first series of images, decided to slice a strawberry and orange for visual and graphic interest. Was pleased with the results (left).
Since I already had developed the Meyer Lemon Marmalade label template, chose to adapt this new label from it. But the more complicated strawberry-orange composition meant the label design had to be simplified and refined, which I did. The main challenge was an issue of legibility with the jam name running over the background of fruits…and how to handle the ingredients listing.
Not until I printed the first color laser proofs, did I realize the square label format wouldn’t adhere well or even fit most of my jam jars, which were too squat, or were round, or had textured surfaces! So, it was back to the computer to redesign labels for the jar lids.
Then I ran into the whole fiasco of finding good Avery brand labels that would print color decently in our laser printer. Won’t go into THAT story….as it’s still not completely resolved. But did get labels decent enough for the fair…still far from satisfactory if these were a commercial product. For that purpose, professional printing services would be required!
I do rise to challenges, enjoy problem-solving, creative exploration, and hands-on learning….so the whole process is very engaging, satisfying, and educational.