Appalachia Appalachian Food

Preserving Mountain Flavors Day 2

Mountain cooking jccfs

Today’s cooking class was all about Strawberry Jam. I didn’t have time to take any photos-but the basic recipe we used was equal parts of crushed strawberries and sugar; and the juice of a half a lemon. We measured the sugar and strawberries by weight-not by cups.

I found the jam process, my co-teacher Nanette Davidson used, very interesting. Instead of sauce pots we used large saute pans. First we heated the sugar in the pan until it just started to clump; then we added the crushed strawberries to the pan (we had already stirred the lemon juice into the strawberries).

The reason for heating the sugar first-was to lessen the time it took to cook the mixture-therefore keeping the strawberries from completely cooking away.

We cooked the mixture over medium high heat-stirring constantly. The tricky part was knowing how long to cook the jam-you want it thick enough to set-but not so thick it gets sticky. Nanette taught us to place a saucer in freezer-then when we thought the jam was getting close-we placed a small spoonful on the cold saucer. After it had set a minute or 2 we ran our finger through the jam-if the trail of our finger stayed clear-the jam was ready. If the trail of our finger filled in-then the jam needed more cooking.

Since my bunch likes plain strawberry jam-I stuck to the basic recipe. Some of the other more adventurous students added mint, rhubarb, and other spices to their jam.

Arsh Potato Cake

After lunch I taught the class to make the easiest biscuits ever-and the best black walnut cake ever-Arsh Potato Cake. (if you missed the recipes for either biscuits or the cake-just click on the words to read them)

So whats up for tomorrow? Blackberry Jelly-and an Apple Stack Cake. I’ll let you know how it turns out.



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  • Reply
    May 18, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Strawberries are my favorite! I’ll keep that little tip in mind if I make some strawberry jam. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Sally K - North Coast Muse
    May 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Just started canning a couple of years ago – thanks for the tip on heating the sugar. Will definitely do that this year.

  • Reply
    May 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    We have a few more weeks until our berries really come in but I cannot wait!! I love fresh jam and plain old berries too!

  • Reply
    May 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    this is all your fault. i am eating the biscuits now. wow oh wow. i dont cook and i don’t bake at all. i stirred one cup of flour and 1/2 cup whipping cream patted out 4 biscuits because i have no cookie cutter, and baked in toaster oven at 400 and wow wow and the dogs LOVE them to. i am sharing. the fault part is this is to easy and i love biscuits and will be doing this when i crave them. thanks

  • Reply
    May 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I love strawberries, especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a few drops of Grand Marnier.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Sounds great, but you’re making me hungry. LOL
    God bless.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    I have never tried the cooking method for strawberry preserves I’ve always thought the freezer preserves tasted more like fresh strawberries. I will try your approach to cooking the sugar first so as not to mush up the berries too much. Will also try that arsh potato cake too. That is what my family always called Irish potatoes.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    May 8, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Tipper–I’ll share one of my favorite quotations from literature. It comes from the great fisherman, Izaak Walton, in “The Compleat Angler” (my spelling is right). He’s quoting a Dr. Boteler on strawberries. Here’s what was said: “Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did.”
    I would amend things a bit to indicate that the wild strawberry, while comparatively small and the dickens to pick, puts its domestic cousin in the shade when it comes to taste. Still, I picked a lot of wild strawberries as a boy. There were a lot of lod fields in the Park gradually going back to nature, and they were full of wild strawberries. You’ll still find them up on the balds at high elevations, and it is late June or even July before they ripen there.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    May 8, 2012 at 9:16 am

    That recipe sounds similar to one I used to use for strawberry preserves…After ready, they were poured in a glass dish to set covered on the counter, (I forget how long) then poured in hot jars and sealed…
    I am ashamed to say I have set aside some of those old ways, and make me a small batch of freezer jam, yep with lots of sugar and sure-jell…I don’t need all that sugar either way..cause I can knead my belly like a big old dough ball….LOL
    Will be checking on the cake as well….LOL
    Thanks Tipper,
    I already froze me some sliced strawberries this year….they came in early here…

  • Reply
    Canned Quilter
    May 8, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I made strawberry rhubarb jam on Saturday. I think it is wonderful that you are passing on these skills and recipes : )

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    May 8, 2012 at 8:49 am

    You made my mouth water – just the thought of fresh strawberries being turned into a lasting treat. Our local Lions’ Club is selling strawberries as a fun raiser; tomorrow is my turn once again. I always bring more home.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Sounds like you all are having a great time! I love home made jams and jelly. When we were kids my mother loved to preserve everything. We had a huge storehouse filled to the brim with all the food that she canned each year. I love strawberry jam, but I think my favorite was the plum jelly that she used to make. Nothing better than a hot buttered biscuit with home made jam or jelly and a big cold glass of milk!

  • Reply
    May 8, 2012 at 8:30 am

    yum on the strawberrie jam. i popped over to read the easy biscuits. wow. can’t wait to try it.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Tipper what perfect timing for this recipe – I went to a farmer’s market this morning and went a little crazy with the strawberries. Wish I was there!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 8, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Tipper, that’s a new way for me. I’ve never made jam like that. I’ve made the old way old cooking the berries and sugar till it closes the tines of a fork. I didn’t like that jam because it cooked the berries too long and they lost flavor.
    Sometimes when making strawberry jam, with sure jell, I substituted a well drained can of crushed pineapple for a few of the strawberries. That makes a very nice jam.
    Looks like the class is going good. I’d like to be there and see the Apple Stack Cake. I trust you’ll take pictures.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    May 8, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I’m looking forward to the apple stack cake to see if it is like how I make it. My grandma made the best stack cake, I can still see myself as a child inside her kitchen and her slicing me off a piece and giving it to me.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2012 at 7:56 am

    I am going to try this method! Looks yummy, I am so happy that you are helping teach these recipes to new people, Tipper. It is so important.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2012 at 7:17 am

    All of it sounds delicious and alot of fun. Hope you have a good day.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    May 8, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Again you make my mouth water early oin the morning! Gotta go get me some breakfast……

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 8, 2012 at 6:05 am

    If I had them strawberries I’d cap ’em and wash ’em and slice the biggins. Then I’d put some sugar over ’em and put them in the fridge ’til tomorrow.
    Tomorrow I’d take ’em out of the fridge and pour that luscious pink juice in a bowl over some tore up cold biscuits. Somebody else can eat the berries. I’m in heaven.

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