Lately there has been all this talk about Freeganism in the US. Although I haven’t gone all out and started dumpster diving, I have started to look at harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables that are available for free in my surroundings. I have harvested some dandelion greens and wild blackberries from a forest nearby and lately some mulberries from a tree in my neighborhood. So I guess I am not an all-out Freegan but certainly an opportunistic one 🙂 I do believe that a lot of food gets wasted in the US and Freegans are to be commended for their efforts to try to reduce such wastage and also create an awareness about this wastage. This jam is my tribute to the Freegan movement.
The mulberry tree in my neighborhood that I prefer to pick from (because it is easy to reach the low branches) is close to a walking/biking path. Oddly enough, while I was harvesting the mulberries several of people stopped by to ask what I was doing performing odd stretching exercises while being attached to tree branches. Most people just didn’t know that mulberries are edible. And then while I was there picking the berries, four elderly ladies hopped out of a car, all equipped with plastic baskets and rubber gloves (mulberries can stain your hands) and so the five us picked the berries together and had a merry time. I suppose, they were from a generation when picking fruit off a tree was considered to be okay. They planned to make pies out of their mulberries and I planned to make a jam and so we exchanged our recipes and phone numbers. I’ll go by their houses this week and deliver my little jars of jam to them.
1. Approximately a pound and a half of mulberries
2. A pound of strawberries (you can do with just mulberries but I didn’t get to pick enough and so I used strawberries as fillers)
3. 2 cups of sugar
4. One fresh lemon
5. 2 teaspoons of good quality lemon flavor (I used the brand Simply Organic from William Sonoma)
6. 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
7. 1 teaspoon of olive oil
8. 1 tablespoon of ginger liqueur
1. Wash the strawberries and mulberries in a stream of cold water and remove the stems or leaves that maybe attached to them.
2. Dry the fruit with some kitchen paper towels.
3. Chop the strawberries in small bite sized pieces.
9. Continue cooking the jam until the fruit looks like it’s getting thickened.
10. Add the olive oil (it gives the jam a bit of extra smoothness and sheen) and the lemon flavor to the pot and stir. Cook for another 5-7 minutes.
12. To complete the canning process place the lids on top of the jars and tighten them and then place them in a large pot with a little bit of water in them. Heat the jars until you hear the lids popping to seal the jars.
13. You can eat the jam with a hot buttered toast or crackers and cheese. It’s absolutely delicious – bursting with lemon flavor and a slight crunch from the seeds of the berries.