Simple Summer Jam Session Calls For Strawberries And Sunshine : The Salt When strawberries are in season, the Food Network's Amy Thielen's thinks of jam — sun jam. She shares her grandmother's method for making preserves with little more than sugar and the summer sun.
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Simple Summer Jam Session Calls For Strawberries And Sunshine

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Simple Summer Jam Session Calls For Strawberries And Sunshine

Simple Summer Jam Session Calls For Strawberries And Sunshine

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. Here's a question for you. What do you do with a bounty of fresh strawberries, some sugar and plenty of sun? Well, you make today's found recipe, which comes to us from Amy Thielen.

AMY THIELEN: Years ago, my grandma gave me a recipe from her files, and it was a really interesting on. It was called strawberry sun jam. So the sun actually cooks the jam.

BLOCK: That's right. If we can brew iced tea with the sun, why not make jam?

THIELEN: It tastes like it's candied, like lightly candied.

BLOCK: And she says it's pretty, too. Thielen is a Minnesotan, a home-cook, author of "The New Midwestern Table" and a master of the technique of making strawberry sun jam.

THIELEN: It seems to me that this is an old farmhouse recipe that takes the jam making out of the kitchen. So on a really, really hot day, why not just use the sun? Why would you, you know, go through the process of boiling water inside the house and making the house hot? Why not just put it out there where it already is hot? I know, it sounds so romantic, doesn't it? OK, so what you want to do, is you just want to trim the strawberries and then you want to cut them in half if they're large. And you add the sugar and you want to use a big wide pot, something with a wide bottom. And you'll use a potato masher and you'll mash the berries and sugar together. And then you're going to bring it to a boil really quick, and then once it's boiled, you turn off the heat. That's the only proper cooking that takes place. So pour that mixture into a shallow sheet tray, just like a cookie sheet with a rim - just like a thin layer, maybe about half an inch high. You want to put that out in the sun with a layer of cheese cloth. And that will keep the bugs away. And you want to elevate it a little and take it off the ground because you don't want the ants in there. All you want is for the evaporation to take place and you're looking for it to thicken. Then you just take this jam and you put it into clean glass jars. And you could process this in a hot water bath so that you could put it on your shelf, now I never do that. I mean I've done that with lots of jams but with this jam - this one's so precious that I just put it right in the fridge. Strawberry sun jam, OK, so I've done it a bunch of times and it only takes me eight hours. It's a really fun thing for kids to watch happen, you know? All day we can be checking on it, making sure there's no bugs in it, watching the evaporation take place, watching it thicken. It is kind of like a sweet science experiment.

BLOCK: Amy Thielen, a host of Food Network's "Heartland Table." Full instructions and pretty pictures of jam in jars, are on our found recipes page at npr.org.

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