Sunday, October 3, 2010

Strawberry Jam with Cacao Nibs

Probably like a lot of older bloggers, one of the first, perhaps the first, food blog that I became aware of was Chocolate & Zucchini, when I heard about it on NPR.  Clotilde's blog was (and is) a wonderful potpourri of fresh recipes and ideas presented by a charming personality who had a distinct voice.

One of the recipes that struck me was for a pear jam made with cacao nibs.  When I made a cherry jam for Steph Chows first Jam Exchange last year, I decided to try to incorporate some cacao nibs into one of the jams I made.  Following Clotilde's lead, I was conservative in the amount of nibs I used in the recipe.  While the lesser amount probably  was the right balance for a jam made from pears, I felt the cacao nibs were overpowered by the cherries.

I was slow at getting around to making the jam for this year's exchange, so I only made some strawberry and lemongrass jam in time for the exchange.  While neither my wife nor I generally eat much jam, once I'm making some I figure I might as well make some more.

Strawberries and chocolate are a combination I enjoy, so I decided to incorporate the cacao nibs into a strawberry jam.  Not wanting to repeat last year's mistake of being too timid with the nibs, I increased the amount to a full cup for the five half-pint jars the recipe makes. I also replaced six ounces of the strawberries with some raspberries I had in the house.  As much as I like the strawberry lemongrass jam, I like this combination even more.  The cacao nibs provide a depth of flavor to the jam, muting its sweetness.  This is a jam to savor with croissants or crackers, one that could even be enjoyed with a glass of port. 

Strawberry Jam with Cacao Nibs

2 1/2 pounds strawberries (I substituted 6 oz of raspberries for 6 oz of strawberries)
3 3/4 cups sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup raw cacao nibs

Give the strawberries a quick rinse under cold water.  Pat dry with paper towels and hull them.  Place the strawberries in a glass or ceramic bowl and stir in the sugar and lemon juice.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to macerate overnight in the refrigerator. 

Pour the berry mixture into a deep saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Remove about two cups of the berries, then briefly use an immersion blender to get a rough puree of the berries in the pan.  Bring the liquid to a boil and cook to around 220º F, skimming any foam that rises to the surface.  Return the reserved whole berries and the cacao nibs.  Bring back to a boil on high heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring gently.  Pour the jam into jars and seal following standard canning procedures.  This recipe makes 5 half-pint jars of jam.

1 comment:

  1. This looks really good! I have never used- or knew how to get cocoa nibs. I might give this a whirl, something "new" instead of my standard Strawberry Jam. Thanks Javaholic!


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