Strawberry Margarita Jam

Over summer my friend Mia and I had a bit of a preserving obsession. It all started with a batch of strawberry margarita jam and went from there. It’s definitely a good way to have fruits like cherries all year around and to have jams that aren’t full of mysterious colourings, flavourings and sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup without costing you $6 a pop at the supermarket.

Sadly, we ran out of the last of the pitted cherries and strawberries that I canned last week, which is what made me think of them.

There are still berries available at the supermarket but they’re at winter prices and I can’t bring myself to spend $5 on 1lb of strawberries instead of $2-$2.50 over summer. The only other option for fruits that I can eat are bananas and oranges – and I’m currently so sick of those that I mentally gag when I even think of eating one. I suppose I shouldn’t complain, a friend of mine who also has fructose malabsorption can’t eat any fruits but it doesn’t seem fair that at least 90% of the fresh fruits available now are inedible to me.

Anyway, back to happy thoughts! The recipe below was supplied by Mia and I don’t know the name of the book she found it in, so apologies for the lack of referencing.

Strawberry Margarita Jam

*Lime juice from concentrate is potentially problematic. Freshly squeezed lime juice should not be too bad if jam is eaten in moderation.

Mash 3 cups fresh strawberries.

Add 1/2 cup tequila, 1/4 cup triple sec and 2/3 cup lime juice; mix through strawberries and pour into an 8-10 quart saucepan. A BIG one, when it boils, it boils!
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Place on high heat and mix in 6 cups castor sugar gradually. Let it come to the boil, add 3 ounces LIQUID pectin, and continue to rolling boil for 1 minute. Quickly skim off the foam that will gather, as it causes a more bitter taste.
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Meanwhile, have 8 x 1/2 pint jars, runs and lids ready to use, sitting submerged in simmering water. Be very careful not to touch any surfaces that will be sealed later on. Botulism is a risk when making preserves.
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Use jar tongs to manipulate hot glassware, fill each jar to the base of the rim, about 1cm from top of jar. Use a sterile plastic (small) spatula to get rid of any air bubbles in each jar.
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If using canning jars: wipe jar rims and put on lids and rings. Carefully Place in hot water, submerged by at least 4cm, and bring to the boil for 10 minutes, to super heat the jam and kill any remaining bacteria etc. Remove jars from water and carefully place on a cooling rack. Wipe water off to prevent rust. Let them cool for 12 hours on a cake rack, remove the ring and use a magnet to test the seal of the lid. It should not POP up. If it does, fridge it and use within 5 days. Properly sealed jam should last up to 1 year but if it looks bad when you open it later, don’t eat it lol.
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If using the inversion method for canning: you can use old jam jars that don’t have separate lids/rims and it seemed to be more effective at getting a seal than the jam/canning jars that I bought. Although maybe there is a limit as to how many times you can reuse the jars. Basically you still follow all the sterilisation steps above and then when the jam is boiling hot still you put it in the jars, screw on the lids and invert for 10-15 minutes. As the jam inside cools down, the pressure inside reduces, thus pulling in the little bump bit on the lid and forming a seal between the lid and the jar.
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Evgeny made me try it this way instead, it’s what his Mum does… and MAN I hate it when he’s right  hahaha.
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Just a quick aside; while these are all favourable fruits, please note that too much of any fruit can cause symptoms in those of us with FM. Please limit your intake accordingly.
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You can read more on the inversion method here: http://www.food-skills-for-self-sufficiency.com/canning-jelly.html
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Enjoy!
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