I bought 8 pounds of beautiful, ripe, organic strawberries the other day at Costco. Because I have some serious fruit lovers in my house the berries disappeared pretty quick, almost before I could set aside what I needed to make this jam.
My plan was to make a simple standby recipe from Cooking Light for refrigerator jam – no canning or sterilizing required – but I had some other things to do and didn’t want to stand watch for the better part of an hour over a pot of simmering strawberries.
So I let the oven do the work, a technique I employ a lot in my cooking. Hands free is a great thing in the kitchen.
I usually make this jam with red wine or balsamic vinegar instead of brandy, but this time I used the last drops from a bottle of framboise (clear raspberry liqueur). Strawberry-flavored vodka would be fun to try, too.
There’s an inspiring feature in the April 2011 O Magazine on women food entrepreneurs, Seven Women Who Turned Their Passion for Food into a Career. I found a few of the food products mentioned in the story during my many shopping travels.
4 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons clear fruit brandy (raspberry, strawberry, cherry) or strawberry-flavored vodka
1 vanilla bean pod, split, plus scraped seeds
- Toss the strawberries in a bowl with the sugar, brandy, vanilla pod and scraped seeds. Let stand 10 minutes. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet or small roasting pan.
- Roast in a 250 degree oven for about 2 hours, until the berries are very soft and shriveled. Mix around once or twice as they cook.
- Let the syrupy berries cool. Remove the vanilla pod. Pulse in a food processor or mash by hand with a potato masher to a chunky consistency.
- Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.