Strawberry Jam

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Strawberries are nothing but mouthwatering delicious. As the first summer fruit to tantalize our taste buds, strawberries remind us why we long for the warm weather all year round. Whether you freeze them or use strawberries for a special dessert, this summer fruit will rarely disappoint. Try making jam as it is a very easy process with rewarding results in an hour (not to mention how pretty jam jars will look in your pantry or as gifts).

🍐 INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 cups of fresh strawberries 🍓 prior to preparing fruit
  • 1 box of pectin
  • sugar— follow pectin box instructions
  • 8 jam jars with lids

🍐 DIRECTIONS:

  1. Wash and hull strawberries, then put aside.
  2. Wash jam jars and place them upside down in oven preheated to 250 degrees F. Heat jars for 10 min. Then turn heat off and leave jars in oven until ready to use.
  3. In a clean sink, submerge lids in hot water and leave them there until needed.
  4. Place strawberries in a food processor and use pulsating feature to create desired texture (I like leaving a few larger pieces in my jam). A potato masher also works in a pinch with a bit more elbow grease.
  5. In saucepan, combine crushed fruit with your favorite pectin and carefully follow directions on pectin package for cooked jam. Pay attention to the sugar and  boiling directions as this is key to the science of jam making.
  6. Always check that the jam has thickened before canning by placing a drop of jam onto a plate. After 5 minutes, check to see that the jam has set (it should not be runny if you tilt the plate).
  7. Pull jars out of oven (careful they will be hot!) and  pour in jam. You can add half of a strawberry on top for a nice presentation. Immediately after, screw lids on tightly and set aside. Wait for a ‘popping’ sound to come from the jars once they start to cool down and this will tell you that the lids have sealed properly.

🍐 TIP: If you like your jam to be have more of a tart flavour, reduce the 8 cups of strawberries to half the amount and add 4 cups of rhubarb.

🍐 MANGIA! Makes 8 jam jars that will store nicely for a year or so.

 

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Homemade Granola ❤️

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Looking for a healthier snack? Or perhaps wanting to make a special homemade gift for someone? Try making your own granola! In the picture above,  I added orange, mango, cranberries, almonds & cashews. I love the way you can mix and match the different spices, fruits and nuts. By adding egg whites to your mix you can create a more clumpy mixture which is ideal for snacking.

🍐 INGREDIENTS:

The Base

  • 9 cups rolled oats (not instant)
  • 2 Tbsp wheat germ
  • 2 cups of wheat or oat bran
  • Pinch of  salt to enhance flavours
  • 2 Tsp of your favorite spice
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 2 egg whites, whisked
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup canola or sunflower or coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

The Additions

  • 1 cup of your favorite dried fruit, chopped (unsweetened coconut flakes are my favorite)
  • 1 cup of your favorite raisins or dried berries
  • 2 cups of your favorite nuts, chopped or whole
  • 1 cup of your favorite seeds
  • 2 tbsp of your favorite citrus zest
  • 1 cup of your favorite white or dark chocolate chips or chunks (optional)

🍐 DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment or foil. In a bowl, mix together oats, wheatgerm, bran, salt and spice. Toast nuts/seeds in oven on baking sheet and set aside. Watch that they don’t burn.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan, mix together sugar, maple syrup, oil and vanilla and then bring to a boil. Pour liquid mixture over dry ingredients and stir until fully coated.
  3. When oat mixture is slightly cooled add in whisked egg whites and stir again thoroughly.
  4. Pour onto a prepared baking sheet and press mixture down with palm of your hand.
  5. Bake till golden brown (approx. 15 min). Half way through baking process, pat down the oats again with spoon and then return to oven. Once baked and cooled, gently break apart granola with fingers, add your fruit/chocolate/zest/nut options and mix. I like to leave larger chunks in mixture.
  6. Store in air tight container/ziplock bag. Great as a snack or on top of yogurt.

🍐 MANGIA! 

 

About

pexels-photo-568471.jpeg“Food has always been an important part of my life. The dishes my mother prepared for the family were more than just meals. Food was her passion, the way she nourished our bodies and one of the many ways she cared for us”.

InsPEARations is a tribute to Mama Cimino who’s legacy of love moves me forward even on those days when I miss her the most.