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Kitchen Bitchin’

Dare you to say “Ponchatoula” ten times fast

It’s spring, and in the southeast that means absurdly humid and dank days followed by breezy, cool evenings.

Gah.

In Louisiana, March and April mean strawberries – specifically, fresh strawberries from Ponchatoula.

Like most New Orleanians, the Kitchen Bitch is currently obsessing over Jazz Fest (which starts this weekend), but she is also insanely stressed about her upcoming wedding.

With the Blessed Event less than two months away, the Bitch needs a distraction.  And the flat of fresh strawberries in her kitchen last week provided just that.

Fresh Strawberry Jam

The bitch bought a dozen pint-sized mason jars and a bag of lemons to make this gorgeous and bright recipe.  Super easy and even tastier, making something so simple soothed her would-be Bridezilla nerves.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. fresh strawberries, hulled and rinsed
  • 4 cups, white sugar (Diabetic? No worries – Splenda works nicely)
  • 1/4 cup, fresh lemon juice
  • 2-3 pint sized mason jars

Preparation

In a wide-mouthed bowl, crush the strawberries.  Combine the three ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved, then increase to high.  The mixture MUST hit 220 degrees F. 

It’s all in the details

Meanwhile, boil water in a large stock pot or Dutch Oven, adding a dollop of white vingear. Remove the lids from the mason jars. Add the mason jars and the lids (in two parts – a band and a flat seal) separately to the boiling water and boil for ten minutes to sterilize them.  Remove them with tongs and place on a clean surface, being careful not to touch the inside of the jars.  Let dry. It’s also not a bad idea to sterilize a funnel in much the same way, folks.

Once the jam has reach 22o degrees, turn off the heat and let cool for a few minutes.  Keep the water boiling in the neighboring stock pot. Carefully funnel the jam into the mason jars, leaving about an inch space between the top of the jar and its contents. With a clean cloth, wipe off any jam residue from the lip/threads of the jar (again, don’t let your fingers touch the inside of the jar). Seal the jars with the sterilized lids and carefully place back into the boiling water for ten minutes. This is called processing – and it will help prevent nasty things from growing inside of your gorgeous new preserves.

It’s sentimental

Very few people know how to can or process items any more, but the Bitch makes her own hot sauce, too, and thinks there’s something almost illuminating and comforting about creating something unique in the kitchen.

And hey, it’s spring – a time for fresh produce and bright flavors. Give it a shot – you might just be surprised at the results.

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April 23, 2009 - Posted by | Kitchen Bitchin' | , , , ,

9 Comments »

  1. Oh Cait, I wish/hope you live near DC, because we should be BFFs. My wedding is in exactly a month and all my plans for the wedding reception site just fell through and had to be completely changed. Your post and the subsequent canning are the most perfect distraction.

    Comment by Chelsea - PETA Protector | April 23, 2009 | Reply

  2. chelsea, i’ve already moved into cait’s basement. at night i sneak up and eat all the leftovers out of the fridge.

    she keeps wondering where her fondue went.

    DON’T TELL HER IT WAS ME.

    Comment by DonnaMartin | April 23, 2009 | Reply

  3. Chere, if you live my my basement, you more than likely live underwater. Remember where I live. 🙂

    Comment by Cait | April 23, 2009 | Reply

  4. Cait! I’m going to a “soups and sauces” themed dinner on Sat and don’t know what to make/bring. I was kinda thinking of doing some sort of sauce that would go well with fruit…like a dip? Yogurt based? Any thoughts?

    Comment by TheHobo | April 24, 2009 | Reply

  5. Depends – what kind of fruit would you use? 🙂

    Comment by Cait | April 24, 2009 | Reply

  6. Cheap ones? 😉

    Probably do a variety, melons and strawberries, maybe some pineapple. Unless the dip worked particularly well with a certain kind of fruit. But I need more than just strawberries since at least one person at the party is allergic to them.

    Comment by TheHobo | April 24, 2009 | Reply

  7. Try this:

    8 oz, cream cheese
    1 cup, sour cream
    1/4 cup, brown sugar
    1 tsp, vanilla

    Mix well – you can use light cream cheese and low-fat sour cream (or Greek yogurt) to lower the fat/caloric content. 🙂

    Comment by Cait | April 24, 2009 | Reply

  8. <3!!!

    Thanks! I think I shall! 🙂

    Comment by TheHobo | April 24, 2009 | Reply

  9. The dip was a BIG hit! Also, very good on ginger snaps, just for the record (my own idea too! ;-))

    Thanks again! 🙂

    Comment by TheHobo | April 26, 2009 | Reply


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