Strawberries, Sour Cherries, and Red Currants (Jam and Fool)

So I had to be out of the house for a bit today. I walked up into the Glebe, talked to a guy who wants to start what sounds like a combination artists’ commune and artists’ temp agency… or something, and got to explain to him what forest gardening is. It seemed right up his alley, so hopefully he’ll look into it further when he has the chance.
I also hit up a couple of grocery stores and a few local fruit trees and bushes and brought home the following:
16 pickling cucumbers
Bacon
About 2 C Quebec strawberries
About 1 C sour cherries
About half a cup red currants
Chocolate ice cream
Yoghurt
Whipping cream
Two tins of lemon-dill tuna
A package of bacon
 

 
The bacon will find its way into breakfast this coming weekend and, potentially, dinner at some point this week. The tuna is going to be part of this evening’s salad nicoise (also ft: hard boiled eggs, asparagus tails, snap peas, rainbow chard stems and leaves, potatoes, yellow pepper, slicing cucumber, and fresh dill). The icecream is just, well, ice cream. Om Nom Nom. ;-)
The cukes are getting washed, sliced, and brined today for making garlic-dill cucumber pickles later this week.
The cream, yoghurt, cherries, currants, and some of the strawberries are being combined to make a “fauxzen yoghurt” dish that is, really, a red fruit fool that’s been chucked in the freezer for a bit (see recipe, below).
Most of the rest of the strawberries have already gone into a spiffy strawberry jam (see? I wound up making some, after all) that I came up with, based on Erica’s Signature Jam flavour table.
 
Anyway. Without further ado, here are the recipes:
 
~*~
 
Chocolate-Balsamic Strawberry Jam
 
INGREDIENTS
1½ C strawberries (heaping, already hulled and diced)
½ C sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp cocoa
Pinch cloves
 
 
DIRECTIONS
 
1) Combine everything in a small sauce pan
2) Slowly bring to a rolling boil over low heat
3) Cook until gooey and delicious (and passes the Cold Plate Test)
3a) While strawberry mixture is cooking, sterilize two half-cup mason jars plus lids in a boiling water bath
4) Once strawberry mixture is goey and delicious, mash it briefly with a potato masher (until smoother but not completely smooth)
5) Pour mixture into sterilized jars
6) Cap jars and process, upside down, in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes
7) Allow to cool on a wire rack. Listen for the “plunk” of the lids sealing. (If you don’t hear it, either process the unsealed jar(s) again, or else store the jar(s) in the fridge and use them up within a month or so. Not hard to do).
 
 
 
Red Fruits Fauxzen Yoghurt Fool
 
INGREDIENTS
1.5 C mixed sour cherries, strawberries, and red currants
0.25 C granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
 
0.5 C whipping cream
0.25 C granulated sugar
0.5 C plain yoghurt (choose a thick variety, if at all possible)
 
 
DIRECTIONS
 
1) In a small sauce pan, mash the fruit – this will make it rather juicy
2) Add the first quarter cup of sugar and the vanilla to the fruit, and heat on low, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a rolling boil
3) Cook for about ten minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated and the fruit is looking syrupy (don’t worry so much about the cold plate test in this situation)
4) Pour the fruit mixture into a receptical (a 2-cup measure, a spare bowl, whatever) and refrigerate
5) In a freezer-safe bowl, whip the cream with the second quarter-cup of sugar until it forms stiff peaks
6) Stir in the yoghurt until mixture is well-blended (use a spatula or a spoon for this, in order to avoid over-blending)
7) Stir in the chilled fruit mixture until well blended
8) Set mixture in the freezer to chill for 2-3 hours, making sure to stir the mixture every half-hour or so so that it doesn’t go rock-hard on you
9) Serve, possibly garnished with extra fruit. :-D
 
 
~*~
 
 
There you have it. Today’s delicious fruit desserts. :-)
Now to brine those cucumbers.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden. :-)

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