“All the knives and forks were working away at a rate that was quite alarming; very few words were spoken; and everybody seemed to eat his utmost in self-defense, as if a famine were expected to set in before breakfast time tomorrow morning, and it had become high time to assert the first law of nature.”
-Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit
_ _ Despite being the target of significant mocking from my friends (who have now been downgraded to “associates” for their unsupportiveness), I’m proud to have channeled my inner 70-year-old woman this past week. Putting my slow cooker to more use than I had since I purchased it, I spent my days making chocolate-strawberry jam, homemade pizza sauce, and peach butter, as well as baking scones, homemade brownies, and handing out Werther’s candies to the neighborhood children… and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I spent the hours while the slow cooker was at work, watching an excess of “pawn” shows, including but not limited to, Antiques Road Show. I also successfully canned all these homemade jellies and condiments, and thus began my love affair with mini mason jars.
1 lb Strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup Sugar
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1/3 cup Chocolate, grated or finely chopped
1. If using frozen strawberries, allow them to thaw completely and rinse them off in a colander. Once they are nice and soft, take half the strawberries and give them a rough chop, and for the other half use a fork to mash them. Combine all the berries, sugar and lemon juice in a medium sauce pan.
2. Heat over medium-high heat until it’s at a rolling boil. Cook at this temperature for 15-20 minutes, keeping an eye on it and stirring regularly. It will get foamy on top and some recipes say to skim this off but it’s totally unnecessary- the foam will reabsorb into the jam as soon as it gets taken off the heat.
3. Once the jam has thickened (15 or so minutes later) remove the berries from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until it’s all melted and combined.
4. Divide the jam into mason jars and can it “properly” if you want to give it as gifts or keep it in the pantry for later… here’s a youtube link for proper water bath canning technique (note: I didn’t use the canning rack because I don’t own one, I just placed them in the bottom of the pot not touching each other). I also adjusted the canning time according to my elevation, adding 10 minutes since I’m about 6,000 ft above sea-level.