Spring is here at last — the weather has been odd by Southern California standards, rather cool and wet — but that hasn’t stopped strawberries from ripening. They’re lush and floral, fruity and sweet, and one of the most beautiful crops on earth.
Strawberries are cousins to roses; you can see the resemblance when examining the flowers. Wild, single-petal roses are easily identified as family members, delicate petals surrounding the eager stamens, seducing the bees with their pollen.
I partnered the strawberries with vanilla beans to add a layer of floral complexity, tiny seeds suspended throughout the ruby-red jam. Excellent on buttered toast, spread between the layers of a golden yellow cake or spooned onto a mound of creamy vanilla yogurt.
The jam is available by special order online at http://www.MyCottageIndustry.net.