Strawberries after the snow and the art of a fragrant jamming

It’s minus three degrees outside (centigrade). Brilliant sunshine; I will try venture for a walk later, padded as warmly as possible. Here’s a poem on a simple mundanity of life, the making of strawberry jam, with the fruit I picked at a quaint market in suburban NJ yesterday. I am including photos and a poetic recipe.

The modern strawberry we consume is a hybrid. Technically, it is the fleshy receptacle that holds the ovaries on the outside that makes for most of the strawberry. Making jam is an art of preserving that which is good in life 🙂

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Dearest Fragaria of the fragrances,

That rosacea on your bloom is enticing / a siren song on your cheeks / laden in pretty baskets woven like social fabric / if only they knew community was an aggregate fruit not a singular berry, it would have called for pause, a straw of thought //

I chop 900 grams of your hybrid mien / to be macerated in plain brown sugar / and leave it there to soak in its own blood / they say the jam will have to be 75 brix when it’s done / I add refractometer to my list of ‘more to buy’ / it’s a long list that grows like it’s ‘never enough’ / should I just burn that list and make jam by the rule of the thumb ? //

I wrap you in sugar that seems sensible / not enough to make you a cloying regret / happily so, for you are less sweet now than from years before / a cup here and a cup there / you ooze in tears / I then boil away your momentary displeasure / you should naturally set in a web of pectin / enmeshed in a holding place of sweetest soul’ecules / and I squeeze in a lime / so you don’t crystallize in sorrow / as I consecrate you to the wintry chill of a refrigerator / like I submit to the sugary sidewalks / and crystal clear memories of those that smiled like snow //

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If there is an excess of fruit in my home, I try to preserve it, try my best not to waste it, which can be a bit tricky given the portion sizes at the store. This that I made, is a conserve really, bits of fruit floating around in the molten jam which makes for an amazing spread on a slice of sour dough bread. Bon appétit !

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