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From A Garden Supper Tonight by Barbara Swell
(Makes about 5 half-pint jars)

*This method of making preserves is a bit fussier than the pectin-added method but infinitely better. A modest investment in a candy thermometer is needed. This preserve pairs well with fresh chevre or aged sheep’s milk cheese.

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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. fresh strawberries
  • 3 1⁄2 cups sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 10 chocolate mint leaves (Mentha piperita is a strongly flavored mint that stands up to baking and drying and smells like a chocolate mint candy.)

Directions

Wash and drain the strawberries. Remove their green caps and slice them in half. Put them in a non-aluminum, large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the sugar and lemon juice, toss gently to coat, cover, and let sit for about an hour. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring just until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Pour into a ceramic bowl, cover with a plate, and refrigerate overnight.

Strain the liquid into a non-aluminum, wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan and
boil until the temperature reaches 221°F. Add the berries and return to
221°F. Quickly chop the mint leaves and add. Follow the recommendations for
water-bath canning.

Water-bath canning instructions can be found at
www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/food/food_safety/preservation/hgic3040.html

Hint: To tell when your jam has set, chill a saucer in the freezer, then
drizzle a little syrup onto the plate. Draw your finger through it—if you
leave a line in the syrup, it should be set. Remember that it’s better to
undercook than overcook, because it’s fine if your preserves are a little
runny.

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