Personally, I do nothing fancy for my strawberry jam. I buy a package of Sure-Jell and follow the freezer jam instructions. But, because of my vine ripened bias, I do change one crucial factor: I take my strawberries, hull them, and let them sit outside in the hot sun for a few hours. Yep. I do that, and yes, my friends do find the awkward bowl of strawberries sitting on the front porch adds to their argument that I'm a bit crazy. Little do they know strawberries are a funny plant which absorb water. I let them sit in the sun and meld out some of their excess. It adds a little something, a concentrated, sun-kissed quality. I find this especially important for store-bought berries, which never feel fully ripened and haven't seen the sun for ages. Then I follow the basic instructions. Is the sun kissing important? I think so, even if it appears a bit off.
This time around I got a bit more gutsy. I decided to try out strawberry basil freezer jam. I replaced a cup of regular sugar with a cup of basil sugar, and then added in some freshly sliced basil. The result is subtle, and adds a very earthy quality to the jam. It tastes rustic and the spice of the basil cuts the sweetness. You won't want to put it on a pb and j but for scones or bread and butter the jam is perfect. I ate mine on slices of champagne bread with butter and enjoyed some lazy time on the porch (sans random bowl of berries).
Strawberry Basil Freezer Jam
adapted from Kraft Recipes
2 cups crushed strawberries (roughly 1 quart fresh)
3 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
1 cup basil sugar
10 basil leaves
3/4 cup water
1 box fruit pectin
Allow strawberries to sit in a bowl in direct sunlight for a few hours.
Rinse 5 one cup plastic containers and lids with boiling water. Dry thoroughly. Stem and crush strawberries thoroughly, 1 cup at a time. Measure exactly 2 cups prepared fruit into large bowl. Slice fresh basil and add to strawberries. Stir in sugars. Let stand 10 min., stirring occasionally.
MIX water and pectin in small saucepan. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Continue boiling and stirring 1 min. Add to fruit mixture; stir 3 min. or until sugar is almost dissolved. (A few sugar crystals may remain.)
FILL all containers immediately to within 1/2 inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or in freezer up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator before using.