Friday, September 20, 2013

Strawberry-Kiwi Cocktail Jam: Toast Topper #31

There are few combinations of fruit I like as much as strawberry and kiwi. It's not hard to see the appeal - strawberries (in their peak season) are candy-sweet and enhanced by any sort of tang, which the slightly acidic kiwi provides. However, kiwi is not inherently sour either, like lime and lemon can be, so it is equally flavourful and balancing.

In highschool (my "smoothie" days), I'd regularly blitz up frozen strawberries, fresh kiwi, vanilla or strawberry yoghurt, half a banana and a handful of ice cubes for an afternoon snack - probably the healthiest thing I'd eat the whole day if Mom was running late at work and only had energy to shove pasta and chicken nuggets (or the admittedly delicious takeout pizza) onto our plates. As I got older and was subjected to the sometimes questionable fruit tables in our university cafeteria, it was a rare occasion that I saw either of those fruits - until I came home for breaks! In fact, the predominant "fruit" I witnessed in my post-secondary years was in the form of liquored concoctions. Not being able to drink legally for most of my first year of university, then discovering my alcohol allergy soon after, meant I never got a taste of the tooty-frooty cocktails lining the bar menu: screwdrivers, AppleJacks and Banana Popsicles had literal meanings for me. Don't get me wrong - I wasn't naïve. I was usually able to get virgin versions of my friends' drinks that packed a decent enough flavour on their own, and as a bonus I could remember the drink the next morning!

Strawberry-Kiwi Cocktail JamOne of the drinks that was on every pub night menu during frosh week was the Strawberry Daiquiri. Whether it was made with fresh berries or (more likely) frozen ones, it was creamy, smooth and not too sweet... the perfect cap-off for a day of whatever the seniors wanted us to do that day (even without the rum!). What was awesome about the barista on shift most of those evenings was that she was always up for an experiment if a customer asked for a modification, provided she had the ingredients. When I found out she had kiwi on hand for a special tropical blender, I asked her to spare one for my frosty strawberry mocktail. When I got the glass, I wondered if I had made a mistake - it was an interesting khaki shade that almost mocked me to try it. But once I did, I was hooked. Strawberry-kiwi was once again on my radar, and it's still one of my favourite combinations.

This summer I found myself with a glut of perfect, sweet strawberries after overbuying at two farmer's markets. As much as I love them, I can't eat three pounds at once - and the freezer became my hoarding ground. Problem was, I'd forget I'd frozen some, and because the berries were always on sale I'd buy them every week and keep stashing them! Then, a few weeks ago (right before my mom and stepdad left on vacation) I found my rather embarrassing treasure trove and knew it was time to get down to business. Jam would be made, and since I was still on a strawberry-kiwi jag I knew just the fruit to mix in.

After a brief Internet browse, I came across a recipe from The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round that looked perfect to build on. Essentially, the mixture was a kiwi daiquiri in spreadable form, and while the original added dried cranberries I simply eliminated those and swapped half the kiwi mixture for strawberries. A touch of sugar sweetened the pot and Pomona's pectin helped everything stay together. The hardest part was waiting for my little tester jar (sans rum) to cool down before tasting it... but it was so worth it! I even saved a few jars for my jam loving friends this Christmas... if I can stay away from it, that is :-).

Strawberry-Kiwi Cocktail Jam

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Strawberry-Kiwi Cocktail Jam
Makes 2 cups, 16 (2-tbsp) servings
3 large kiwis, peeled and diced
3 oz (about ⅔ cup) diced strawberries
⅓ cup lime juice
3 tbsp water
1 tsp calcium water (from Pomona’s)
¾ cup sugar, divided
¾ tsp Pomona’s pectin
¼ cup silver rum (or ½ rum ½ tequila) - optional
  1. Combine fruit, lime juice and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Cook, stirring often and lightly crushing against the sides of the pot, for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the calcium water.
  4. Mix ½ cup sugar and pectin, add to the pot, stirring constantly.
  5. Bring back to a boil, stirring, and cook 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, stir in remaining sugar and rum (if using).
  7. Ladle into jars and can in a waterbath for 10 minutes.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 57.1
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 1.0 mg
Total Carbs: 12.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.7 g
Protein: 0.2 g