Jam is terrifying. It is the zombie movie of spreads. It can become undead and grow a bacterium that will kill you. I hope you are excited to make jam now.
I swear this one is not so hard, or murderous. There’s no 10 minutes of boiling Kerr jars or air-drying or anything like that – it’s a quick easy jam that makes enough for right this minute and maybe the next two weeks if you don’t get too greedy. Store in the fridge and if you have too much for you, it makes a great for-no-special-reason gift.
Aakash, Nate and I drove up to Sonoma to celebrate Nate’s birthday with wine tasting and a peanut butter sandwich picnic. It was overcast and windy, very like New York this time of year. My favorite part (I drove) was buying beautiful purple heads of garlic and the sweetest fresh strawberries from a roadside stand in front of the berry fields and across the road from a vineyard.
Roasting strawberries is a great way to preserve the flavor of fresh spring strawberries for longer than two days – or to save some already sad-looking berries. Roasting them with olive oil, a bit of maple syrup, and a generous spoonful of balsamic gives these a jammy, tangy flavor that goes great with the creamy avocado and a bit of spiciness from freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
My little sister Tiegen and I are always horrified when people overzealously lob off the tops of strawberries in order to remove the calyx – that’s “destem the green cap” (I swear it’s a real word, thank you to my sister-in-law for that). There is so much gold there, people.
I’m celebrating spring. In the Bay this year, the only difference between “winter” and “spring” has been the local foods at the market. And it has been so warm everything is coming in and out a little early than usual: asparagus is going, gone, while strawberries are in full swing. And while my dad’s garden in central NY is still covered in a light coat of snow, I’m going to take full advantage of the ridiculous growing season in CA (come visit, Dad?).