We picked up a couple jars of preserves at Serenbe to hand out as gifts, but forgot to keep a jar for ourselves. I picked up this guide at a used bookstore in Tennessee and after flipping through it for a while, it inspired me to do one of my all-time favorite summer activities: jam making. So, this recipe is mostly inspired from the jam at The Farmhouse restaurant in Serenbe, GA, with a few step-by-steps borrowed from Ball Blue Book.
Since I've never cooked with lavender before, I was kind of just making it up as I went along, but it turned out great. It's a subtle flavor that pairs really well without over-powering anything. I wasn't sure if I should just sprinkle it in there or reduce it into a syrup or what, but I decided on tying up a few spoonfuls in what I think was cheesecloth (who knows) and making a little satchel out of it. It did great, just kind of bobbing around in the strawberries, and filled the kitchen with a really sweet, calming aroma. I'd highly recommend putting on some Sinatra and spinning around in your apron a bit.
You will need:
2 pounds of strawberries (buy local or pick them yourself!)
3 tablespoons dried lavender
2 cups white sugar
Juice of one medium-sized lemon
1.Wash, hull and cube the strawberries. Put them in a gallon sized zip lock bag and crush them a bit (unless you prefer more of a marmalade-style jam).
2. Put a few spoons in the freezer. (You'll use them later to check the thickness of the jam.)
3. This recipe makes around 3 quarts of jam. Prep three quart-sized jars by washing and drying them and filling them with hot water so you don't crack the glass when you pour in hot jam.
4. Tie up the lavender in a square of cheese cloth, tie off with dye-free string.
1. Put the strawberries in a large sauce pan and add the sugar, lavender satchel and lemon juice.
2. Bring to a boil slowly over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
3. Increase to a rapid boil and cook for around 25-30 minutes until thick, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
4. To check thickness, dip a frozen spoon into the jam and quickly lift it out. If the jam slowly drips down from both sides of the spoon and comes together to form one, thick droplet, it's ready.
5. Remove jam from heat and discard the lavender satchel. Pour the hot water out of the jars and using a funnel, ladle in the jam. Leave a bit of room on the top and put the lid on immediately. Once all the jars are filled with lids on, flip them over and set them upside down for a few seconds before putting them right side up again. Within about a half hour or so, you'll hear the lids start popping as they seal. If they don't pop, push down on the center of the lid. If they don't seal, stick them in the fridge and enjoy them soon, or use them for a delicious dessert recipe, like this one.
(Note: A lot of people choose hot water baths to seal jar lids, but quickly turning them upside down has always worked for me. Some people leave them upside down until completely cooled, but I've never tried it longer than a few seconds and it always works for me. Good luck!)
We tried out the jam on a sunny, Saturday morning over lemon poppy-seed scones and coffee. It turned out incredible and took me right back to Serenbe.