Foodie Friday: Strawberry Jam and Fresas con Crema

26 Mar

Foodie Friday… coming to you on Saturday because my mom had an unexpected gallbladder surgery yesterday (she’s feeling better already!).

With all of the strawberry craze this week, did you think I’d make anything without them? No way!

Strawberries!

Have you ever considered making your own jam? The thought of canning put you off? Shun the idea no more — I have the easiest and most delicious strawberry jam recipe handed down to me from my Mamaw that will leave you feeling like a super-mom. What’s the catch? It’s freezer jam, so you don’t have to go through all the regular canning steps and it keeps for a year in your freezer. My Mamaw’s strawberry jam was the only kind of jam I would eat growing up, and even today when I visit, she pulls out a jar just for me. Spoiled? Maybe… The funny thing is that growing up I thought this had to be the hardest thing to make (and she sure must have loved me to go through all the trouble!), but when she taught me how I had to laugh at how easy it really is. And Mamaw’s secret recipe? It comes straight from the fruit pectin box. 🙂 I’ve included the link to the SURE-JELL site, but my version of that recipe is below.

Mamaw’s (SURE-JELL) Strawberry Freezer Jam

  • 2 cups crushed strawberries
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 box SURE-JELL fruit pectin
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 6 half-pint jars (or other misc. jars)

Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water. Wash and stem berries. I sprang for an official strawberry corer that was on sale at Target this week . Fancy schmancy… and it does make a quicker job of cleaning them and you don’t lose any of the precious berry to an overzealous knife. To get 2 cups crushed berries you’ll need close to 3 cups whole berries.

Strawberry corer

Strawberry corer

Crush berries in large bowl. I use my handy plantain masher that I got in Cuba, and then when they’re all crushed I use my hand to give them a final squeeze. Measure out the crushed berries and transfer to another bowl. I use my Pyrex bowl with a spout because it makes it easier to pour into the jars in the end.

Mashing berries

It's good to know he has his priorities straight

Add 4 cups of sugar. That’s right ladies, 4 cups. Suck it up — this stuff is good. Stir well and let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Or let your toddler handle that part.

Stirring berries

Look at that chubby little arm!

Bring 3/4 cup water to a boil. Add fruit pectin and stir. It may look lumpy, but keep stirring for 1 minute once it comes to a boil again. It will get frothy once it boils.

Pectin

Pour pectin into berries and sugar and stir for about 3 minutes.

Pour into jars. Be sure to leave 1/2 inch at the top for expansion when frozen.

Jam in jars

Don't fill jars too full!

Wipe rims clean and seal. Let the jars stand at room temperature for 24 hours and then store in the freezer. It will keep for 1 year in the freezer and 3 weeks in the refrigerator (though I’ve kept it for longer in both — just don’t tell the FDA).

Strawberry Jam

Enough to get us through the year... and then some!

Note: I believe that not all pectins are created equal. So if you’re using a different kind, I’d follow the measurements on it’s package.

SURE-JELL

Mamaw's secret recipe

How could you have 10 lbs. of strawberries sitting around and not make fresas con crema? I’ve found over the years that there are many recipes for these, and here’s my take. I don’t like any of the recipes that use la lechera (sweetened condensed milk) and I can’t get a good Mexican cream where I live now so I’ve adapted to the recipe below. Sig-o fell in love with them and requested that I make a huge batch to send to work with him — they were devoured! Nothing makes a cook happier.

Fresas con Crema

  • 1/2 pint whipping cream
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup sugar (depends on how sweet strawberries are)
  • Approximately 4 cups strawberries

Combine cream and sour cream. Beat briefly just to get the cream to thicken up just a tad. Stir in sugar.

Beating cream

Wash, stem and quarter strawberries. Add to cream and stir until well combined.

Making fresas con crema

Sig-o likes a “strawberrier” cream so I crush just a couple of berries in my hands, making the cream pinker than usual. What we do for love 🙂

Fresas con crema

Fresas con crema

And as an added bonus, I adapted another family recipe this week to include strawberries. This was the first time I had done this and it turned out pretty good… but I think I’m partial to the original. Old habits die hard. My mom made this dessert when we were growing up, and again, it couldn’t be any easier. It also gets better after you let it sit overnight in the fridge. Some call it ambrosia — we called it 5 cup salad.

5 Cup Salad

  • 1 cup sliced strawberries (original recipe calls for 1 cup pineapple tidbits)
  • 1 cup mandarin oranges (we always made this with the canned kind but I also make it with fresh)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup mini-marshmallows (I use closer to 2 cups)
  • 1 cup sour cream

Ingredients for 5 cup salad

Mix it all up, and let it set overnight in fridge before you dig in. Enjoy!

5 cup salad with strawberries

5 Cup Salad with strawberries

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