Some of the happiest moments of my life were spent hunched over a bubbling cauldron of sticky sweet strawberry syrup. When I was a kid I used to spend every summer with my grandparents in Prince Edward Island and once each year we’d all make a special trip out to the u-pick strawberry fields. I was always given the task of actually gathering baskets upon baskets of berries (which I relished since it meant I could save and eat fruit at about a 1:1 ratio). Then we’d all return home and I’d spend the rest of the afternoon assisting my grandmother as she sterilized mason jars, measured out ingredients and meticulously scooped off bubbles of pectin from the simmering pot.
Well I am in the city now. Its still months away from strawberry season. And I hardly have 5 minutes to cook dinner let alone 5 hours to make one measely preserve. But that didn’t stop me from creating my own take on homemade jam: bafflingly simple, naturally sweet and guaranteed to make you smile.
- 5 dried figs (stems removed)
- 1 pitted medjool date (or 2-3 smaller honey dates)
- 1 cup frozen berries
- 1 cup of water
- a few drops almond extract (optional but delicious)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- sprinkle of cinnamon
1) Tear dried fruit into smallish pieces and add it along with berries and water to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave fruit and water on high for approximately 2 minutes until figs feel soft and berries have thawed.**
2) Scoop out berries, dried fruit and approx 1/4 of the liquid into a food processor. Pulse until smooth adding more of the liquid as needed. Once your mixture has reached the consistency of a sticky paste, add in the cinnamon and extracts. Pulse again until combined.
**I do this mainly for speed but for a raw version, skip the microwave and soak ingredients overnight.
Makes about 3/4-1 cup of fresh jam. Store in a small glass jar in the fridge for about a week. Adding a little lemon juice will preserve it a little and increase its staying power but you may need to compensate by adding an extra date for sweetness.
Compare this jam to classic Smuckers after the jump.
DIY for the WIN:
- Less than half the sugar.
- Half the calories
- Loads of dietary fiber
- NO HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP
Classic Smuckers Jam Healthy Hipster Version