The strawberries are in at the farmer’s market! A couple of months ago I made a parfait consisting of layers of pastry cream and strawberries drizzled with a balsamic-orange syrup. The syrup was so good atop the strawberries, I decided that I must do a version of this in preserve form.  As I so often do, I used Pomona’s Universal Pectin to make this low-sugar, bright-flavored jam.  Don’t try substituting another pectin here, it won’t work.

4 c. crushed strawberries with juices

 1/4 c. freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tsp. grated orange zest

1/2 c. balsamic vinegar, boiled and reduced to about 1/4 c.

1/2 tsp vanilla

pinch salt (optional)

 1/2 c. sugar

2 tsp calcium water, 2 tsp Pomona pectin.

Combine the reduced vinegar, orange juice, strawberries, pinch of salt, and calcium water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and pectin powder well.  Stir into the strawberry mixture, stirring vigorously. Bring back to boil. Stir in the orange zest and vanilla.  Ladle into properly prepared jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Or refrigerate. Makes about five 1/2 pints.

May 26, 2009

I’ve been busy with the art festival season starting up again, but the garden is enjoying its spring growing spurt, I’ve been cooking yummy things, and just received a new shipment of tea from Upton. All of this means I haven’t been reading marketing research articles– I’ll save that for the cold months, unless something truly fascinating comes up (I just did a pass through the journals yesterday, and this month, nothing fascinating has).

So for the time being, a report on the tea in my latest order, which contained my current favorite breakfast tea, Assam Koilamari (which I had just run out of this morning, with the result that I had only had one cup and was just able to summon the energy to drag myself to the mailbox to retrieve the life-restoring shipment).  Also Moroccan Mint tea, a long-time favorite of mine for iced tea, and a sample of Tung-Ting Milky Oolong, which I’m drinking as I type– a very nice cup, but I have to say I don’t taste the creaminess alluded to in its name.  Just the same sort of sweet green flavor I associate with jade oolongs. Perhaps a side-by-side taste test is called for.

Also in the shipment was Special Grade Temple of Heaven Gunpowder (purchased to blend with my own homegrown mints), Earl Grey Creme Vanilla, Orange Spice Imperial, and a complimentary sample of Kandy Ceylon BOP, recommended for iced tea.  Haven’t sampled these yet, and will try not to do so all in one day (would be a lot of tea-drinking even for me).