Let's just say that this year, the weather was not ideal for strawberries. For the entire month of June, it rained (you know, just in case you haven't noticed.) This means that strawberries were incredibly juicy (hum...waterlogged) and though they were still sweet, the first ones didn't have that tang and deep flavour that strawberries need to have to make great jam.
Then, all of a sudden, out of the blue, it was Summer in Vancouver and we saw some sun. Which means the berries saw a little sun too and we have the sun to thank for the delicious flavour our beloved strawberries had last week.
So, as jam makers, this is what we do. We pay attention to the weather, try berries all over the place, as many as we can, and then we make phone calls to farmers. When all is right, we get up bright and early and do our thing (we literally saw a bird getting a worm that day...)
A short strawberry season means not everyone got the strawberry fix they need. This is precisely why we can fruits and vegetables, isn't it? It is so we can enjoy that delicious fresh berry taste in the Fall and Winter as well.
Strawberry Jam seems to be everyone's favourite flavour. Even the most sophisticated chef palates we know just crave straight up Strawberry Jam. Sometimes, it's the simplest flavour that can be the hardest to achieve. To get the Sticky Spoon stamp of approval, we needed to find the right balance of sweetness and were aiming for that fresh, ripe, red, juicy strawberry flavour, not the overcooked, overstewed, oversweetened berry jam that can often be found. We adapted our tehniques, tested again and again until we were happy and felt we did strawberries justice. They have had a rough year so they deserve it. We are delighted with the results and love its chunky strawberry texture.
As usual, we made a huuuge mess of the production kitchen, complete with foamy explosions of strawberry goodness all over the stovetop. And the wall. And the floor (sorry Buca boys--- we scrubbed extra hard this time!)
Before we could even spread the word that our Summer Strawberry Jam was being made, before we could put stickers on the jars, we had friends and coworkers ordering from us. It's almost like they had been waiting for it to be ready, which makes us feel really good about what we do (a waitlist!)
As for pairing suggestions, we recommend with a spoon, straight from the jar (piece of bread optional.) Summer Strawberry Jam, straight up. However, if you happen to have a piece of vanilla cake around, and perhaps a little ice cream, it does make a mean shortcake (to be kept in mind in Winter, when tasty local strawberries are months away and you crave a little summertime berryness.) If you are one of those people whose favourite jam flavour is Strawberry, please email us and we shall get a jar to you. You can visit us at the Vancouver Farmers Market in the West End on Saturday, July 21st from 9am to 2pm. We will also be attending the Shangri-La Hotel Farmers Market on Sunday, July 29th from 11am to 2pm, hosted by Chef Wayne Harris on the third floor patio. Have a wonderful sunny weekend.