Recipe: Strawberry and Basil jam
Strawberry season in France is a thing, you know? And is a short one since it last only from (usually late) Spring to Summer. I started to spot cagettes with strawberries from Spain in markets and supermarkets about late March, but it was just about these last weeks that I saw Gariguettes strawberries from Carpentras, a french variety that, next to Mara de Bois, are acclaimed as the favorites of french people. It was until then that the husband and I got the idea to jam them.
Our recipe (or well, should I say, le husband‘s recipe) is an easy one, the only catch is that is recommended to do it in several days and steps, since you will have to start by macerating the strawberries in a bit of sugar, to later after a day or two (your choice) cook it. Following this process you will end up with a confiture that is not too thick but with large pieces of fruit to indulge.
We enjoy our Confiture des fraises et basilic in our morning tartines (toast), next to a bon croissant, or as a luscious quick dessert crowning a fromage blanc, or yogurt. You can even use it as a base for a sexy Prosecco cocktail like this (just subs the citrus syrup by confiture), or as an extra component of fresh Strawberries with Chantilly or a Yogurt and Strawberries cake.
CONFITURE DE FRAISES ET BASILIC
yield: two mid size jam containers
800 gr fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in halves or quarters (depending the size)
150 gr sugar (you will need more for the cooking process)
a dash of lemon juice
COOKING THE JAM
macerated Strawberries, and the resulting juice. Do not throw away that juice
50 gr sugar + 10 gr pectine
a pinch of fresh basil, chiffonade
In a large plastic or glass container mix the strawberries with the first sugar and add about a teaspoon of lemon juice. Cover with film and store in the fridge.
Separate the macerated strawberries from the resulting juice.
Pour the juice in a mid size pot and cook at low temperature until it reaches a soft boiling point. With the help of a spoon remove any resulting foam that may have formed in the surface (make sure to do this in order to have a crystal bright jam).
While still hot, pour the reduced juice over the macerated strawberries. Let the mixture to reach room temperature. Refrigerate overnight.
If you want to you can repeat the steps of day 2: separate marinated strawberries, cook to boiling point the remaining juice, pour over macerated strawberries again, and refrigerate overnight, this step is optional, its recommend if you want an intense flavor but I tend to skip this step and instead continue with the final cooking.
Separate the juice from the fruit. Cook the reduced juice over a gentle heat until it reaches 30C (warm), add the mixture of the second sugar and the pectin Let it cook until it starts to get firmer. Add the strawberries, continue cooking for another couple of minutes (always mixing with a wooden spoon to avoid the jam to stick to the pan) , add the fresh basil, let it simmer just for one or two minutes, but not any longer or the basil will lose its color and fresh flavor. Pour into sterilized jam jars.