A friend of mine once said that every season has its own distinct smell and that basil’s fragrance belonged to summer.
I agree with her. Basil smells of sunshine, green things, and heat, all things that belong to summertime.
This year I planted some basil seeds in one of my garden boxes. I didn’t have high hopes because all the books say that basil can be difficult to grow from seed. Not to mention, all the neighborhood children wanted to assist me, so approximately half the seed packet was pounded into the ground by small, eager fists.
Surprisingly the basil responded well to their harsh treatment and I have 8 or so plants thriving. No matter how much I pick it, the next day the basil has not only replenished what I took, but added a couple of inches as well. You can almost see the plants grow.
So I am making pesto with the black walnuts I got from my mother’s yard last fall. I’m freezing chopped up basil mixed with water in ice cube trays for soups and other dishes this fall. I’m adding basil to our salads and pizzas.
And I’m making strawberry basil jam.
I know, I know, it sounds so wrong. But believe me, it tastes so right, I promise. The strawberries provide the sweetness, the lime juice gives it brightness, and the basil makes it sophisticated and summery.
You might just love it so much, you’ll want to take a bath in it. And to assist you in your jam bathing needs, I have the recipe right here for you.
Strawberry Basil Jam Recipe.
9 cups strawberries
juice and zest from two limes
1/4 cup of chopped basil
two boxes of the no-sugar-necessary pectin
two cups sugar
Heat the strawberries and lime juice in a large pot. When they are soft and juicy, use your immersion blender to get rid of most of the chunks. (But not all, because good jam has a few chunks of delicious berries.)
Add the basil and lime zest, then heat to a rolling boil. Slowly add your pectin and stir until thoroughly dissolved. When mixture is boiling again add the two cups of sugar and mix again.
Keep stirring the jam until it’s at a good boil, then let it cook for three minutes. Strawberry jam foams like mad, and while the foam is delicious it doesn’t look very pretty in your jars. So at the end just skim that foam off into a bowl to use later.
Pour the jam into clean, sterilized jelly jars and process in a water bath canner for ten minutes. The recipe makes about seven jars of jam.