Homemade Strawberry & Blueberry Jam

They always say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I couldn’t agree more. If I don’t eat breakfast in the morning I turn into a very cranky, grumpy diva. Trust me you don’t want a cranky diva. This breakfast menu was inspired by the American composer Ned Rorem and his beautiful art song, “Early in the Morning”.

To listen to this song press the play button on the Ned Rorem Playlist to the right of your screen.

03 Early in the Morning

The song is full of beautiful poetry and word painting that will transport you to a french bistro in Paris. It will make you reminisce of your youth and your first love. This song is very close to my heart because it was my father’s favorite song. My father recently passed away due to pancreatic cancer. He loved when I sang this song,. He loved music and was always so supportive of my dreams of becoming an opera singer. He was my biggest fan and he was always my taste tester in the kitchen.  I dedicate this post to my father and to all those who have lost loved ones to cancer.  May this song bring you as much joy and comfort as it brought my father.

This  picture of my father and I was taken after my performance as Diana in the opera “Trouble in Tahiti” by Leonard Bernstein


dad and me

One of my biggest cooking idols is the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. I love everything about her. Her cooking style, her elegant and cozy home decor, fun party ideas, and of course her recipes. This homemade jam is an Ina Gartner recipe with some “Just a Dash of Diva” variations.

The idea behind making this jam was, once again, the lyrics of Ned Rorem’s ” Early in the Morning”. There is a line in the song that says “I was breakfasting on croissants and cafe au lait”. I can’t believe I am going to admit this but, when I first learned this song, back when I was 15, I thought the lyrics were quit silly. I always gave a little goofy smile to my voice teacher when I sang the word croissant.  Thankfully I can say, after 8 years of voice lessons, studying music, and most of all maturing, I now love this song and fully appreciate the beautiful lyrics. One problem still remains though. Whenever I sing this song it leaves me wanting a fresh, toasty croissant. That’s where the Strawberry & Blueberry Jam comes in. I am no pasty chef by any means so homemade croissants are out the question. But, I can make delicious homemade Strawberry & Blueberry Jam to spread all over the top on them.

Fresh Strawberry & Blueberry Jam IMG_2038

Adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients:

3 pints fresh strawberries

3 cups  sugar

Juice and zest from 1 orange

1/2 Granny Smith apple,

(peeled, cored and small-diced)

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1 tbs Raspberry Vinegar

Directions:

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Place the strawberries in a colander and rinse them under cold running water. Drain and hull the strawberries. Cut the larger berries in half or quarters and leave the small berries whole. Place the strawberries in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot such as heavy Dutch oven and toss them with the sugar and orange juice.
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Bring the berry mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Add the apple and blueberries and continue to keep the mixture at a rolling boil, stirring occasionally, until the jam reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer. This should take 25 to 35 minutes. Skim and discard any foam that rises to the top. Add the orange zest and the raspberry vinegar off the heat. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and then store covered in the refrigerator. It will keep refrigerated for at least 2 weeks. To keep the jam longer, pack and seal in canning jars according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Go to your favorite local bakery and buy yourself a bunch of fresh croissants to spread your homemade jam all over.  Last this to do is press the play button on the “Just a Dash of Diva” playlist to the right of your screen. Then sit back, relax and enjoy every note and delicious bite.

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