Preserving the Sweetness of Summer
Jane Fielding's home and family are the center of My One Hundred Adventures. Her mother's inventive, fresh cooking, the gathering of fresh sea food, berries and greens, and the calm fellowship the Fieldings enjoy at mealtimes sustain and fortify Jane as she greets each new adventure. Jane's mother preserves the sweetness of summer with her perfect strawberry jam (much like the elderly sisters who preserve Maine blueberries in Horvath's award-winning The Canning Season). Old-fashioned horehound candy also figures prominently in the novel.
No Cook Strawberry Freezer Jam
1¾ quarts fully ripe strawberries
1¾ cups sugar
1 package Sure-Jell Light Fruit Pectin
1 cup corn syrup
1. Hull and thoroughly crush strawberries, one layer at a time. Measure into a large bowl. You should have 4 cups.
2. Measure sugar. Combine fruit pectin with ¼ cup of the sugar. Gradually add pectin mixture to fruit, stirring vigorously.
3. Set aside for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add corn syrup; mix well. Gradually stir in remaining sugar until dissolved.
4. Ladle quickly into scalded containers. Cover at once with tight lids. Let stand overnight, then store in freezer. Small amounts may be covered and stored in refrigerator up to 3 weeks.
Horehound candy is made from a boiled infusion of sugar and the fresh leaves
of the horehound (a member of the mint family - Lamiaceae). Horehound lozenges are an old-fashioned hard candy and a favorite cough
remedy with a distinctive flavor. The following is a recipe for making your own
1. Make a strong horehound infusion: Boil one cup of fresh leaves with two cups of water for ten minutes. Let steep for five minutes and then strain.
2. Use one cup of horehound infusion to two cups of white sugar. Place sugar in small saucepan and stir in 1/8th teaspoon cream of tartar, then add the horehound infusion. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then cook over low heat until it reaches 290 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer or until a drop of the cooked infusion in cold water becomes a hard, glossy ball.
3. Pour on a buttered plate and score into cough drop sizes when it is semi-hardened. When cool, break apart into sections and store in a cool place until used.
This article was originally published in September 2008, and has been updated for the
January 2010 paperback release.
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