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Savor the Summer: 'Small Batch' Honey Sweetened Strawberry Jam

06.10.14 Savor the Summer: 'Small Batch' Honey Sweetened Strawberry Jam

Several weeks ago, we did a first over here at MightyNest. We hosted a canning workshop at a neighborhood demo kitchen in Evanston (amazing place called Now We're Cookin'). The star of this amazing night happened to be one of our favorite bloggers, the lovely and talented Marisa McClellan. The evening was extra special because of her and everyone became smitten with her and her honey sweetened strawberry jam by the end of the night. If you are familiar with Marisa McClellan, the darling of the canning world, and the lady behind 2 best selling canning cookbooks as well as the blog Food In Jars, then you'll know what we're talking about. If not, here's your introduction.

Marisa's latest cookbook, Preserving by the Pint - Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces is a MUST. HAVE. COOKBOOK. She is really masterful at creating simple recipes that highlight the most amazingly paired flavors. The recipes are sorted by SEASONS and because they're tailored for small batches, you can opt to skip the processing and just keep in the fridge for delicious use within 2 weeks. If you make Marisa's Carmelized Onion Spread with Sage, there would be no reason to put it up for later!

According to Marisa, this cookbook is for people who, "live in cities and have tiny kitchens. It's for newlyweds, empty nesters and other households of just one or two. It's for CSA subscribers who love supporting their local farmers but who struggle to eat through their share each week. It's for parents who want to get their young kids involved in canning, but can't keep short attention spans focused for more than ten minutes. It's for gardeners with postage-size plots and for farmers' market regulars. And it's for anyone who wants to dip a toe into the world of food preservation."

Is that you? 

OK,  back to the canning class. While Marisa chopped strawberries, plucked sprigs of thyme and started the water boiling for the processing of the jars,  she answered questions from beginner to expert canners. She has a terrific sense of humor so she made the event really lively by telling funny stories and basically giving the audience permission to improvise a bit (mainly amounts of sweetener) but also  and most importantly, alleviating the common fear of giving your family and friends botulism. Apparently, this is not possible with high-acid environments like strawberry jam.

For her book tour, Marisa is mindful to pack her best tools for successful canning demonstrations. So when she started talking about her love for a "4th burner pot," and how she always packs this particular pot for canning classes, the audience was all ears. Luckily, we now stock this wonder 4th burner pot at MightyNest and continue to find new uses for it. Here are some highlights: Made of 18/10 stainless steel so it won't rust. There's an interior stainless basket so you can boil canning jars, ravioli, eggs or steam asparagus and then rely on the locking lid to drain the water. The handle is conveniently wrapped in silicone so it's comfortable and eliminates the need for a potholder. Oh, so easy!!

Honey-Sweetened Strawberry Jam (makes 2 half-pint/250 ml jars) Reprinted with permission from Marisa McClellan and Food in Jars. Published by Running Press.

  • 1 dry quart strawberries (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1 cup/340 g honey
  • 5 - 6 sprigs of thyme
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
Hull and chop the berries and place them in a bowl. Add the honey and stir. Strip the thyme leaves off their stems and add them to the strawberries and honey. Stir to combine and let sit for at least 10 minutes. 
When the honey has dissolved and the strawberries are quite juicy, scrape the mixture into a wide pan. Bring to a bubble and cook over high heat for 8-12 minutes, stirring regularly, until the jam is thick and sticky. It is done when you can pull a spatula through the cooking fruit and it doesn't immediately rush in to fill the space, 
Funnel the jam into the prepared jars. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for for 10 minutes. 
Notes: Once opened, preserves sweetened with honey don't last as long as those made with sugar, so make sure this is eaten up with 2-3 weeks after opening.
Marisa canned the strawberry jam in these Weck mini tulip jelly jars - the perfect size for this batch! Enter to win below to win a case of these Weck jars, a gorgeous bamboo cutting board and a SIGNED COPY of her cookbook, Preserving by the Pint, to get you started canning this season.
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