Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce

Wondering what to do with one pound of sad strawberries and a bunch of basil that's seen better days? Don't throw it away! Make this jam. Of course, I'd prefer if you used, errrr, fresher ingredients. But hey, I do what I can with what I have...and what I have had was some less than stellar produce awaiting judgement day in the fridge. Except the basil. Never put fresh basil in the fridge.  Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce I love strawberry jam. However, we never have any on hand. I buy that Kirkland signature strawberry puree from Costco that's totally amazeballs. Yet, I eat it all up too quick.  Like freakishly quick, and it's a massive jar. Anyway, Costco is about an hour away so we don't go on a regular basis. In addition, I flat out refuse to buy any jam at the regular grocery store because, well, to put it lightly...I'm a jam snob.

Growing up, my grandparents had a hugely vast vegetable & fruit farm garden full of fresh currents, rows upon rows of an assortment of raspberries, and gobs of plump strawberries. Believe me when I tell you, and this is very important...there is nothing like the taste of a freshly picked strawberry from a real ass garden. You don't know life if you haven't had one, so if that's the case get yourself to a U-Pick farm. Right now! There's no time to waste! Anywho, we used to make oodles upon oodles upon oodles of perfect jam with these home grown berries. And that's why I'm a jam snob. I'm ruined, essentially. 

I tried to make chia seed jam not too long ago (while in a state of panic due to our lack of jam). I didn't post the recipe because...I did not enjoy it. It had an odd texture (surprise!) and it wasn't sweet enough and it was just a plain insult to jams everywhere. It's still in my fridge and is made with Alaskan-mountain blueberries picked by yours truly last fall. It's all yours. So gross. 

I've been talking a lot about jam. This is because I simply refuse to acknowledge the existence of jelly. OMG, don't even get me started on that crap. Preserves, yeah, they're okay but I don't like my jam chunky, you know? But, live and let live. So, jam it is for me. NEVER JELLY.

Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce

If you're try to impress someone or just up your jam game, this is the one for you. It's a delicious, no-canning necessary strawberry jam infused with fresh basil, vanilla and cinnamon. I couldn't stop licking the spoon. 

Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce

Makes about 8 oz. 

Notes: For more of a sauce, blend the strawberry mixture until smooth. If you'd like more of a jam, blend less. 

  • 1 lb. strawberries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegan sugar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped and packed
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 

In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients over low heat. Produce On Parade - Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce Continuously stir until the sugar has dissolved and it looks like the strawberries are floating in water.  Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce   Remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth for a sauce-like consistency or leave a bit chunky for a more jam-like texture. Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce Transfer back to the pan and over high heat, stir continuously until it reaches the mixture reaches 220 degrees (about 5 minutes). Once it's reached 220 degrees, stir continuously for another 5 minutes. Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce If you don't have a candy thermometer, that's okay. Once the mixture is transferred from the blender back to the pot, it should cook on high from start to finish for about 10 minutes total.  Pour into a jar and allow to rest at least 15 minutes before covering and placing in the fridge to chill. Chill overnight. Store in the fridge and consume within one week.  Strawberry Basil Jam or SauceOh, that's what I'm talking about.  Strawberry Basil Jam or SauceYes, I always match my nails to my jam. Also, there was a little bit that didn't fit in the jar...and...well, I ate it all. Straight up. Treat yo' self! Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce[soundcloud url="" params="color=73a89a&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

German Word of The Day: Jam --> Marmelade (pronounced: marma-lawd-eh) I know about orange marmalade, but who knew?!

Good Deed of The Day: All I have to say is WTF. Please sign this petition to stop a live bull from being set on fire for the entertainment of people. Grotesque animal cruelty shouldn't be tolerated, regardless of any culture it's involved in. Period. It only takes 5 seconds. You'll see my signature there! 

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Homemade Vegetable Broth

If you're like me, you eat a lot of veggies. If you're like me, you can't stand to throw out anything...and I mean anything. If you're like me, you're renting and cannot have a compost. Sad face. Not to worry, though! All those vegetable scraps you've been tossing (or feeding to your furry companions) can be thrown into a one gallon zip-lock bag, and stored in the freezer until it gets full. Fresh herb stems too! Then once full, made into a delicious and wholesome vegetable broth in 20 minutes flat. Not having to buy vegetable broth every damn week is pretty sweet too. Did you know there's a difference between stock and broth? Yep. Who knew? Though they're used pretty interchangeably, there really is a difference. If we were to boil just the vegetable scraps and incorporating nothing else, then extracting the water, that would be a stock. However, since we did that but also added herbs, a little splash of wine, and some spices/seasonings we now have a broth. I like to make a fairly basic broth that works well pretty much anywhere, so I choose to make a broth as opposed to a boring stock.

Produce On Parade - Homemade Vegetable BrothThe first time I ever made my own homemade vegetable broth, the scrap bag had a lot of kale stems in it. Also a cabbage core and brussels sprout tips. After it was done, beaming with pride I tasted it...and almost spit it out. It was sooo bitter! Now, broth is usually a little bit bitter, but not so much that it would throw off a dish or even be detectable. But mine was awful. I had to research what was causing this horrid bitterness in my broth, of course, and I discovered that it was due to the kale, cabbage, and brussels sprouts. These veggies are members of the brassica family and if incorporated into a broth, will impart a very bitter flavor, so it's best to avoid them.

Because I am a wonderful human being I have comprised a list of vegetables to avoid putting in your scrap bag:

  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • turnips
  • rutabaga
  • kohlrabi
  • mustard greens
  • kale

My scraps from the brassica family still aren't wasted though. Bailey has his very own little veggie-scrap treat-bowl in the fridge that usually houses broccoli/cauliflower/kale stems. It usually has sweet potato tips, too. Sweet potatoes are fine to include, but he loves them so much that I save them specially for him.

Produce On Parade - Homemade Vegetable Broth

Be sure to eat the brassica superstars, just compost the trimmings...or give them to your furry friends. As a warning though, here is a list of vegetables that you should not feed your dog, according to the ASPCA:

  • avocado, any part
  • onions 
  • garlic

Of course, you should definitely save the onion and garlic scraps for the broth. This recipe should be customized by you to your specific needs and preferences for that particular batch of broth. For example, I try to make sure to have a balance of celery, onion and carrots. So, if I am missing any of these in the scrap bag, I'll add some chopped fresh ones from the fridge. 

Homemade Vegetable Broth

Makes 8 cups

Notes: Use any veggie trimmings, peels, etc. However, stay away from the brassica family (kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts, etc.) as they will impart a bitter flavor. I like to balance out the scraps. If I see I don't have many carrots, celery or onions, I'll add some from the fridge. If I don't have any used bay leaves in the bag, I'll add some. You don't need a pressure cooker, just use a regular pot, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

  • 8 cups fresh water
  • 1 gallon of veggie scraps & trimmings (avoid brassica family)
  • 2 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 1 small piece of kombu (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves (omit if already in bag)
  • 6-8 whole black peppercorns 
  • 2 tsp. Italian herb seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. wine (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Add everything to a pressure cooker, cover, and over high bring to pressure.

Produce On Parade - Homemade Vegetable Broth Produce On Parade - Homemade Vegetable BrothRemove from heat and allow to de-pressurize on it's own. Or bring to pressure and then turn to low, allowing to cook at pressure for 10 minutes, then releasing pressure manually. Alternatively, a large soup pot can be used by bringing everything to a boil, covering and allow to simmer for 45-60 minutes. 

Produce On Parade - Homemade Vegetable BrothStrain using a fine-mesh strainer or a cheesecloth, ensuring to squeeze the scraps with the back of a large spoon to get out all the liquid trapped inside.

Produce On Parade - Homemade Vegetable Broth Produce On Parade - Homemade Vegetable Broth The cooked vegetable pulp can be composted. Or gifted to a friend who has a rabbit and chickens (like I do)! Produce On Parade - Homemade Vegetable Broth Produce On Parade - Homemade Vegetable Broth Produce On Parade - Homemade Vegetable BrothAllow the broth to cool in the fridge. Having it cold before pouring into a clean one gallon ziplock bag will help to avoid freezer burn when stored in the freezer. When ready to use, just defrost. Keep the scrap bag in the freezer for a new batch! I keep both bags labeled so they aren't thrown out. 

Produce On Parade - Homemade Vegetable BrothI use this for recipes that require 4 or 8 cups of vegetable broth (like soups), otherwise I have a little jar of vegetable Better-Than-Bouillon in the fridge for when I only need one or two cups of vegetable broth.

This has nothing to do with the recipe, but I'd like to note that the rural Russian lady character, Olya Povlatsky, from SNL is probably the greatest thing ever.

Produce On Parade - Homemade Vegetable Broth

So funny! I think I love her so much because I, a rural Alaskan girl, can identify with her. That...and we dress very similar. If you missed the skit from last Saturday you should really watch it. It's absolutely hilarious. Also, as you know I live in Wasilla and so obviously I can see Russia from my house. Olya and I are actually BFFs. She comes over all the time.

Watch the skit here on NBC. I'm not technically savvy enough to embed a video into my posts. My apologies. One day I'll learn.

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