It’s Strawberry Season and I’ve created three recipes: 30 Minute Strawberry Jam, Spinach & Frisee Salad with French Baguette topped with Goat Cheese and Strawberry Swirl, and a zesty Strawberry Vinaigrette.
It’s peak season for picking strawberries, as pints and quarts lined up on tables at farmers’ markets look like plump, shiny jewels. They taste better than supermarket varieties, with a deeper color inside and a condensed, natural sweetness. I tested making pectin free jam with these locally grown berries, and the leading organic supermarket variety (shipped from California.) The locally grown variety produced a darker jam, full of natural fruit flavor. The best supermarket variety was lighter in color, still delicious, but not as luscious. I added chia seeds to the latter, with vanilla bean paste for a protein and flavor boost. My 30 Minute Strawberry Jam recipe teaches both varieties.
I’ve reinvented a classic french salad where a slice of garlic rubbed baguette slice is topped with goat cheese (baked until warmed through) and sits on top of greens with a vinaigrette dressing.
Adding Strawberry Jam to the goat cheese adds a pop of color and natural sweetness. Complementary lettuces I chose are spinach, frisee and microgreens. The Strawberry Vinaigrette has a dash of zest from garlic and chipotle powder… necessary to balance the sweetness of fresh strawberries, which are sliced and added to the greens.
Indulge in the pleasure of in season strawberries – their high vitamin C content, is said to contain free-radical fighting compounds called anthocyanins that are the true all-star health components of the fruit.
Using pectin in jam means you have to use a higher proportion of sugar to ensure the chemical action required to thicken the fruit will take place. Nearly all commercial jams and jellies use pectin. Sugar is cheaper than fruit, products containing pectin don’t have to cook as long, and the final yield is higher because you aren’t cooking off as much moisture.
Give jam a try! Just stir the best strawberries you can find with some natural cane sugar, (less sugar than commercial varieties) and slather on your morning toast, or in these three master recipes.