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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mama Masha's classics - strawberry jam

There are recipes I find myself giving out over and over again. So, here is a series of things that are fairly easy to make, can be cooked in bulk, and sometimes even given away to friends and family as gifts.

I learned how to make this strawberry jam from my Jewish grandmother Larisa (Grandma Lora). The difference between this, and a traditional American preserve is that it is not mush - it has distinct chunks of the fruit in it. I often tweak the recipe, which I did in this case. I cut down the sugar and added a few bits here and there to subtly adjust the flavor.

Ingredients

- Strawberries

- Sugar-in-the-raw (my preference, but you can use regular white sugar as well)

- Lemon juice

- Citric acid

- Herbs by preference and to taste (the last time I made this, I opted for mint and rosemary)

Prep

1. Remove the stems and leaves from the strawberries.

2. Chop up the strawberries into chunks and start measuring them into whatever pan you'll be cooking them in (pick a good deep one).

3. Measure off the same amount of sugar as you had strawberries. For example, I had 7 large glasses of chopped strawberries, combined with 7 large glasses of sugar.

4.Cover the pan and leave the strawberries to juice for at least two hours, stirring occasionally, to make sure as much of the sugar is dissolved as possible.

5. Add one teaspoon of lemon juice to the strawberries and sugar per every glass of strawberries.

6. Turn on the heat to just above medium and bring the jam to a boil, stirring frequently.

7. Once it reaches the boiling point, turn the heat down to medium-low, remove the foam from the top and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Note: the foam is delicious on cookies, crackers or ice cream. So save it in a small cup or saucer and make dessert with it to go with your dinner.

8. While the jam is simmering, start washing and sterilizing the jars. Once the jars are ready, set them out onto a clean towel and add herbs to the bottom of each one.

9. Repeat the boil/simmer cycle two more times.

10. Turn off the heat and use a ladle (preferably one that has a little spout on it) to transfer the jam into the jars. Be very careful - it's going to be burning hot. Consider having an assistant to hold the jars for you with an oven mitt.

11. Once the jars are filled, sprinkle citric acid on top, close, and vacuum seal using your preferred method. If you don't have a preferred method, google it - there are tons of instructions out there.

12. Label the jars with content and date and let them sit for at least a couple of weeks before you tear into them. Enjoy!

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