Never-Fail Biscuits and Strawberry Freezer Jam

Biscuits with Strawberry JamJammin’ Biscuits

My grandmother was a canner. Growing up, I remember every summer she would can her tomatoes and the fresh peaches that she picked herself in Brentwood. She also made an incredible blackberry jam from the bramble I once fell into as a child. (No es bueno.) Alas, that recipe has been lost. I’ve looked for it everywhere, but I am starting to think that she didn’t have it written down—and made it from memory. Gam did it the old school way, too, with melted wax on top of the jam. So good…

I started canning about 8 years ago, mainly because the apricot tree in the backyard of our old house produced so many apricots one year that I had to do something. I just couldn’t bring myself to throw them out. I brought some here to the store to share, but even that didn’t put a dent in the quantity. So I made jam. Lots of it. I was hooked on canning.

In the following years, I kept making jam, but I also started making pickles and chutneys and also canning the tomatoes from my garden. When those crops were exceptionally big I made salsas and tomato sauces. It was work, but tasting the flavor of my summer tomatoes in January made the hard, hot work worth it.

This year, sadly, I won’t be doing much canning or preserving— at least not as much as in previous summers for two reasons. The first is I don’t have a garden. With the water restrictions, I decided it just wasn’t worth planting a big garden and fighting that battle. The second reason is I just don’t have time. For the next five weeks, there is something going on every weekend, sometimes more than one event. I barely know what day it is most of the time.

I can’t just not do anything, so I’m going the quick and easy route. Freezer jam is great and you can do it if you find a free hour. (For me, that’s midnight). We are crazy for strawberry jam in my house—especially when you spoon it on warm, fresh (and really quick!) biscuits. Yum…

Strawberry Freezer Jam
Makes about 5 (8 oz) half pints
Adapted from, the Ball website

2 cups crushed strawberries (about 2, 1-pound baskets)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
6 tablespoons pectin

5 8 oz plastic containers or freezer jars, or 8 oz half pint glass jars with lids and bands

In a large bowl, hull and crush the strawberries, one layer at a time, with a potato masher. Stir in lemon juice and sugar. Be sure to incorporate thoroughly. Let the mixture stand for ten minutes.

In the meantime, fill a small saucepan with water and stir in the pectin. Stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil—that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard for 1 minute, continuing to stir.

Slowly add the cooked pectin mixture to the fruit mixture, and stir for 3 minutes.

Spoon or ladle the freezer jam into clean jars, leaving 1/2 inch space at the top. Apply the caps, and let the jam stand in your refrigerator until it is set. Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 3 weeks, and freeze the remaining jam up to 1 year.

Never-Fail Biscuits
Yield 12 biscuits
Adapted from King Arthur Flours

These have got to be the easiest biscuits…ever. They are so tender and simple to make that you really don’t have an excuse! They also are a great base for strawberry shortcake. You can roll them out, and cut them for a more uniform shape, but I prefer the simple, drop method.

1 1/2 cups unbleached, self-rising flour (Preferably King Arthur)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt according to taste

Preheat the oven to 450°F, with a rack in the top third.

Mix the flour and cream until it is smooth and holds together well.

Scoop roughly 1-ounce balls of dough onto an un-greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. A tablespoon cookie scoop or ice cream scoop (for larger biscuits) works well here. Leave a couple of inches between each biscuit.

Brush the tops of the biscuits with cream, milk, or water; this will help them rise.Bake the biscuits for 10 minutes, until light golden brown on top, and baked all the way through—break one open to make certain it is finished.

Bake the biscuits for 10 minutes, until light golden brown on top, and baked all the way through—break one open to make certain it is finished.

Remove the biscuits from the oven, and serve warm, or at room temperature. Store, well-wrapped, at room temperature for several days, and freeze for longer storage.

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