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Shabbat Brunch With Strawberries

Recipe suggestions for Shabbat Saturday breakfast or brunch include strawberry borscht (below) and the author’s world’s best strawberry jam.

You really ought to make a small amount of the World’s Best Strawberry Jam to experience what you’ve been missing. This is produced without the aid of commercial pectin, relying instead on the pectin that is naturally in the fruit itself. That way the fruit doesn’t need as much sugar to set. You jam will taste like strawberries as it should. And if you go this route, then for Shabbat breakfast try a slice of leftover hallah spread first with a good quality sweet butter, then with your wonderful strawberry jam. Tip: use a 2-gallon stainless steel pot so the mixture cooks down fast. Once you have mastered this procedure, you will be what is called an artisanal jam-maker!

The World’s Best Strawberry Jam

Yields about 3 8-ounce jelly jars

4 cups hulled and cleaned strawberries, just ripe
2½ cups sugar

1) Cut up fruit (leave it a little chunky if you want), cover and simmer on a low heat until juices start to run.

2) Stir in sugar, leave pot uncovered and bring mixture to a rolling boil.

3) Stirring occasionally, boil uncovered for about 10 minutes until mixture thickens and begins to cling to the bottom of the pot. Using pot holders, just tilt the pot to check.

4) Remove pot from the heat, let mixture subside, then pour into clean, hot jars and cover. When cooled store jars in the fridge.

With Strawberry Sauce or Herb-Fruit Cup on hand, it’s a natural step to combine them with yogurt topped with granola. Strawberry smoothies transition to borscht for lunch, as suggested to me by Barbara Blechman, a New York City area garden designer and fellow plant and food nut. The original recipe, slightly amended here, appeared in an E-Newsletter from Pendle Hill, the Quaker study, retreat, and conference center near Philadelphia.

Strawberry Borscht

Serves about 4

5 cups chopped watermelon
1 quart strawberries, hulled and chopped
½ pint red raspberries
1 cup yogurt
1 scant teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar or honey
chopped mint leaves, some whole for garnish

1) Process fruit in a blender then add the other ingredients, stirring them in thoroughly. Garnish with whole mint leaves.

Note: This can be prepared before Shabbat and kept chilled until you need it, but it should be stirred well before serving.

Jo Ann Gardner lives in the Adirondacks where she and her husband maintain a small farm with extensive gardens. Her latest book is “Seeds of Transcendence: Understanding the Hebrew Bible Through Plants.” She can be reached via her website

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