Fresh strawberries just scream, “Summer is coming! Summer is coming!” Also, “Eat me! Eat me NOW!” Equally.
I was shopping at my produce place the other day, and ran across a steal of a deal on some organic, local strawberries that were on the edge of mushiness. A WHOLE FLAT for $9.95. Strawberry freezer jam begged to be made. Then, in the middle of my mixing and stirring, I remembered a bag of culinary lavender I recently ordered, for the purpose of making these, and had a floral epiphany. Strawberry jam with lavender! It was a downhill slide from there, in the best possible way, into a pool of sticky goodness.
While many freezer jam recipes call for a ton of sugar and pectin in order for the stuff to set and jell properly, there are ways you can get around using that processed heart disease powder. I used some raw, local honey, full of minerals and nutrients that the body can appreciate in small doses. I decided to forgo the pectin in this recipe, and call it a “compote” instead of jam, since it didn’t thicken to jam-like consistency. If you want your jam to be jam and not compote, but still retain its mostly from-the-ground-and-hives quality, you can get a packet of Pomona’s pectin, made from citrus, and follow the instructions in the box.
The quantities here would make about four pints of compote, but I happened to have this whole flat, see? So I quadrupled the recipe, and infused half with culinary lavender.
Strawberry lavender compote
4 C fresh Hood strawberries (they’re the most delicious)
1/2 C raw honey
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 t. culinary lavender, crushed into fine powder
Use a potato masher or a pestle or the bottom of a heavy jar to smash the strawberries into a juicy, mushy mess. Mix in the honey – it will take a few minutes, because room-temperature honey doesn’t really want to mix with anything, but it’ll happen. Whisk in the ground lavender, then the lemon juice.
Ladle into freezer containers. I used four-ounce mason jars, because this is a great giveaway preserve, and those masons are the perfect giveaway size. Leave a half-inch of head space, so the glass doesn’t crack (if you’ve used glass; leave space either way, though).
Freeze, and thaw as needed, to savor the spring for months to come!