The quail eggs go in to ‘lock down’ (no more turning, no more touching!) tonight. With imminent chicks (maybe Friday!), I’m on pins and needles with anticipation. After another go at candling these admittedly difficult to candle eggs, I think three are duds with the others potentially hatchable. If 20 out of 24 (one broke in shipping) hatch, I will be pleased as punch. And I bet everyone else will be happy if I stop using parenthesis now, yes?
Strawberries are coming in to season in my neck of the woods. We’ve harvested about a dozen from the plants in our yard. We don’t have a lot of strawberry plants, but my son likes the idea of growing them and he’s been getting a real kick out of a tiny bowl of equally tiny, sweet strawberries next to his plate at dinner.
Strawberry and mango season sort of pass each other by with a wave and a giggle around here. Of course, mangos aren’t local, so any that I get that are decent are frequently just enjoyed fresh. But every now and then I get the itch to put them up if I can get good ones at a reasonable price, and this year I hit the jack pot with champagne mangos. I haven’t put anything in jars since some pickled onions in early march, and it was time to break the big pot back out. It also seemed like an ideal time to think up a recipe for All Four Burner’s May Can It Up! Challenge. Strawberries play well with mangos and even better with spicy chilies!
Below is a small batch recipe for Three Chili Strawberry Mango Jam. I used commercial pectin to achieve a set, since I wanted the fruit colours to be bright and fresh. I wasn’t happy with the overcooked taste I got the first time around since neither of the fruits were that high in natural pectin. The second batch with the shorter cooking time was much nicer and definitely the one I’m passing on. Though it is slightly lower sugar than most regular pectin boxes call for, I had no problem getting a set with the normal high sugar pectin. You could easily replace that with low-sugar pectin and decrease the sugar in the recipe, especially if you have very sweet strawberries or mangos. For those of you who don’t want to use pectin, you can achieve a set without it, but the flavor profile is different and it takes a much longer cooking time, so just be forewarned. Because it is such a small size, this batch could easily be doubled.
The chili powder in the recipe is a combination of fresno peppers (about half), thai dragon chilies and orange habaneros. You can use any combination of hot peppers you like, but I liked the citrusy heat of this particular combination.
Small Batch Three Chili Strawberry Mango Jam
Makes 4-5 half pint jars
2 cups mangos, pitted and diced
2 cups strawberries, hulled and diced
1-2 tsp ground hot pepper combination (habanero, thai dragons, red jalapeños, fresnos, cayenne, whatever makes you happy)
About 2 2/3 cups sugar
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 box (or 3 tablespoons) pectin
1. Mix mangos and strawberries with 1 cup of sugar in a non-reactive bowl. Cover and let sit for at least an hour or as much as over night.
2) Prepare a boiling water bath canner, lids and rings.
3) Pour macerated fruit in to a wide, shallow pan. Add the chili powder, lemon juice, zest and pectin. Cook at a bare simmer until fruit is soft, about 5-10 minutes. Gently mash the fruit until there are no large pieces left. Bring mixture to a boil and whisk in remaining sugar. Boil hard for a minute or two, until the mixture starts to gel.
5) Remove from heat. Fill clean, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims and apply lids and rings. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes, starting the timer when the water returns to a boil. At the 10 minute mark, remove from heat and uncover the canner. Leave the jars in the water for another five minutes or so to prevent the jam from bubbling out before removing from the hot water to a towel or cutting board. Allow to cool and check the seals. Sealed jars can be labeled and will easily keep for a year in the pantry. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated immediately and eaten in a few weeks.