May 19, 2009

Mexican Strawberry Jam

Mexican Strawberry Jam

strawberry, lime and hibiscus

While at Trader Joes last week I came across Candied Hibiscus, something I had never seen before. Stumped on what to make for my next post I knew I had found the magic ingredient. They look like Willy Wonka evil baby squid gummies and taste like weird fruit roll-ups. Kinda cool! I’m sure they’ll turn into one of those tipping point ingredients that suddenly appear everywhere.
Hibiscus, with its tart cranberry-like flavor seemed a perfect mate for sweet strawberries. I had a huge bowl of limes and flat of berries sitting on my counter at home. It all came together, Mexican Strawberry Jam.
I prepared it as I would a normal strawberry jam using lime instead of lemon. I used Tazo Teas Passion tea, but any hibiscus tea will do. I added the tea bags while macerating the fruit, adding the candied hibiscus to the pot toward the end of cooking, to retain its chewy texture. It came out fantastic, slightly marmaladey from the candied hibiscus.
I have been experimenting with cooking my strawberry jam a bit more (past 220 to 224) as I wanted a thicker jell without pectin. This worked out great with this jam, the set was perfect.

Next time I am going to add tequila and see what that does to the flavor. I think the hint of pepper would be fantastic. Meanwhile I am on a roll with the hibiscus…more to come.


5 lbs strawberries washed and hulled
½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice

8 cups sugar
6 hibiscus tea bags
8 candied hibiscus flowers cut into thin ribbons


1. Cut strawberries up into bites sized pieces. Place in a non-reactive bowl with sugar, lime juice and tea bags. Cover with a tea towel or parchment and macerate over night or until sugar is dissolved.

2. Strain, reserving the fruit in the bowl. Boil the syrup and tea bags for 5 minutes, skimming as needed till you reach the gel point, 222-224 on a candy thermometer. Pour syrup back over strawberries and soak overnight. (This allows the berries to absorb the syrup so the fruit does not float to the top of the jar)

3. The next day add candied hibiscus to strawberries and syrup and bring to a boil. Skim as needed. Immediately turn off heat. Repeat this three more times cooling in between. Careful not to let it boil over (mine did and it made a fierce mess on my stove.

4. Remove tea bags. Place jam in hot sterilized jars, seal, process and label .

YEILD: 8-10 ½ pint jars