Strawberry Marsala Jam with Rosemary
Sometimes things don't turn out quite as one plans them and this jam is exactly an example of that. I set out to make a Strawberry Sherry Jam with rosemary, accepting that even though there was no Marsala around, that Sherry would be a good substitution, consoled by the fact that I would at least try the fruit-herb combination.
Rosemary is more commonly used in savoury cooking rather than in desserts or preserves, but after a very good experience in form of a Rosemary Olive Oil Cake, it seemed like the kind of experiment to try at least once.
In the end the day of the jam making came, there was no rosemary in the house and no shop open to redeem me from my shopping mistake.
I therefore urge you to avoid my mistake by getting some rosemary before you even to strawberry shopping. It is true that even without the rosemary this is a lovely jam, but my curiosity for this new flavour combination has not been sated, so I will have to try again next year.
• 1760gr strawberries
• 1080gr sugar
• 174gr freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 3-4 sprigs rosemary
• 30-60gr sweet or medium-sweet Marsala
Place the strawberries in a glass or hard plastic storage container and add the sugar and lemon juice. Shake the container slightly to evenly distribute the sugar, cover tightly, and let macerate in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours, or until the berries release their juice.
DAY 2 OR 3
1. Place a saucer with five metal spoons in a flat place in your freezer for testing the jam later. Rinse the rosemary well under cold water, pat it dry between two kitchen towels and set aside.
2. Remove the strawberry mixture from the refrigerator and transfer it to a big copper preserving pan or a wide nonreactive kettle. Place the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula. After a few minutes, as the juice starts to run and the mixture begins foaming a little around the edges, raise the heat to high, stirring often.
3. Boil the mixture hard for 20 to 30 mins, gently scraping the bottom of the pan every few minutes, gently scraping the bottom of the pan every few minutes with your spatula to be sure the jam is not sticking. If it does begin to stick, decrease the heat slightly, being sure the jam continues to cook at a rapid boil. Continue to cook, stirring and scraping the bottom frequently, until the foam subsides, the mixture acquires a darker, shinier look, and the berries appear softened and saturated with liquid, about 25 mins total. At this point, stir in the Marsala.
4. Continue to cook the jam. After 3-5 more mins, it should again look glossy and dark. At this point remove the jam from the heat and test for doneness, suing a stainless steel spoon to carefully scrape all the white foam from the top of the mixture while you test. Do not stir. To test for doneness, carefully transfer a small representative half-spoonful of jam to one of your frozen spoons. Replace the spoon in the freezer for 3-4 mins, then remove and carefully feel the underside of the spoon. It should be neither warm nor cold; if still warm, return to the freezer for a moment. Tilt the spoon vertically to see how quickly the jam runs; if it runs slowly, and if it has thickened to a gloomy consistency, it is done. If it runs very quickly or appears watery, cook it for another couple of mins, stirring and test again as needed.
5. When the jam is ready, skim the foam from its surface, then stir well to be sure the berries and liquid are evenly distributed. Place the rosemary into the mixture and let steep for a few minutes off the heat. Carefully taste the jam and either remove the sprigs or leave them in for another minute or two, keeping in mind that their flavour will be slightly milder when the jam has cooled. Using tongs, discard the rosemary. Pour the jam into jars and process according to the manufacturer´s instructions.