Welcome Back! I mentioned in my previous post that “first fruits” was one of the symbols of Lammas and in my part of the world that is strawberries. I live in the fruit growing capital of Canada and when the first local berries are available you know summer is finally here. I walked into a market the other day and found baskets of no spray berries looking lush and smelling divine. In my humble opinion local berries are well worth the wait! and doesn’t it make something a bit more special when you can’t get it all year round?
You will need:
4.5 cups of crushed strawberries
1.5 cups of prepared rose petals
7 cups of sugar
1 box of regular Certo
While spending time in Findhorn, Scotland, all work sessions were referred to as ‘Love in Action” and we started by coming together in a circle and clearing the mental space to begin a project. So let’s start there.
Take a deep breath and bring your mind into the present moment. Leave the blankety blank driver who cut you off to get home safely by him/herself, allow yourself to play in the kitchen even though the “to do” list isn’t finished and tuck any “attitudes” experienced during the day into a virtual garbage can for now. If you feel you absolutely need to, you can retrieve it later. Take another deep breath…..
There is a restaurant in California that posts the daily soup special along with the song that was playing as the soup was being prepared. If you have some music you like to groove to ( gosh, am I showing my age?) that has good healthy lyrics, pop it on and fill the room with “good vibrations”.
We are going to follow a simple standard Certo recipe with one tweak, fresh rose petals. If you usually make freezer jam or use the light pectin version instead then modify as you see fit.
Firstly, choose roses with a lovely aroma. You will want thin petals and tearing them into smaller pieces to release the oils and avoid big chewy bits in your mouth is advisable. The colour of rose you choose will effect the the colour of the finished product. I used a collection of yellow, deep red and a purplely red this time. The stronger tones added deeper colour to the finished preserves, something closer to raspberry jam. Using orange and yellow tones will move the finished product more towards peachy colours. Make sure to take off the white bits at the base of each petal as they are bitter.
If you have the time, place the rose petals in 7 cups of sugar and leave overnight. Some recipes suggest using rosewater which I find is lost in the strawberries jam making process but adding a spoonful to a jar once it is opened has been more successful. Rose essential oil is not recommended for internal consumption.
Later this year, I am going to use the petals of a really aromatic late flowering rose bush and add them directly to sugar for storage, the way you make vanilla or lemon sugar. I want to see if the flavour transfer is enough to make it worthwhile.
Wash and hull your berries, gently taking out any that won’t enhance the final product.
There is a documentary movie called The Next 7 Generations, which tells the story of the first few years of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. In the film there is a quietly powerful scene where the daughter of one of the grandmothers, sings to a leaf while taking it from the plant, washing it and preparing a plaster for a patient. She shows genuine gratitude for what the leaf is giving up and for all the benefits that gift will offer her patient. Try doing the same with your strawberries.
Once the strawberries are washed, you will need 4.5 cups of mashed berries for the recipe. Put the strawberries in a pot, add the contents of the box of Certo and 1- 1 1/2 cups of prepared rose petals. I know the picture above shows them with the sugar and if you have the time to let them sit with the sugar overnight, lovely. However, with my experience this year, a few more minutes in heat also beneficial. Bring the strawberries, rose petals and Certo to a boil. Add the sugar, mix well, bring back to a full boil and boil for 1 minute.
Be aware of your personal energy. Be present, be loving, be grateful. Remember you are a part of the magic. Take the jam off the heat and stir for 5 minutes. Certo says this will help the fruit mix properly and not float. Use a spoon to skim off the foam to a saucer. It is always nice to have something to taste once everything is sealed away and if you are going to take a sample to your local harvest celebrations, judges deduct marks if the foam is in your jam jars.
To bottle, I put the jars in the oven at around 250 degrees. I put the lid/sealers in a pot with hot water and bring them to a boil for at least three minutes. If you are recycling lids make sure they are in good condition so they will seal properly. They will also need to come with the rubber rings under the lids, a plain lid will not work. Fill the jars quickly and pop the lids on tightly. As the jars cool you will hear snaps as the lids are pulled tight. Test the tops and if can push the lids down in the centre, they are not sealed, eat first. You will want to do this quickly to keep the temperature of the jam and the jar close together. If the jars are too hot, the jam will boil as you fill and if the range between the two is too great, the jars can crack. Allow to cool and label.
Both roses and strawberries have a connection to good fortune and luck which is appropriate for a celebration of bounty. They also have long associations to Love so popping a jar away to mix with a little Cointreau for an enticing dessert one night or afternoon is an additional idea.
Strawberry & Rose Petal Jam from My Kitchen Wand
AND A LATE UPDATE! If you were thinking about getting the decorated sugar cubes I mentioned in the last post, I received this photo today with Sandra’s new selection. These are $14.00 for 24. You can order through Sweetspecialites on Etsy.