Saturday, July 9, 2011

Strawberry-Pepper-Mint-Jam



Right now I just want to chill for awhile. Take a hiatus from all the craziness. To clean my house, see my family. Just see some movies and pick some strawberries.
~Lauren Ambrose








Do you remember what jam you put on your peanut butter sandwich as a kid?  Most likely it was strawberry jam.  An American classic, strawberry jam has probably been around for as long as women have gathered in the fields to pick fresh strawberries and taken the baskets home to prepare delicious strawberry concoctions for their families. 


 Bright, sun ripened strawberries abound here in the Midwest this time of year.  So it was that I found myself recently with 4 pounds of strawberries sitting on my counter waiting patiently to become something wonderful.  In my kitchen, strawberry jam needs to burst with more flavor than the traditional recipe makes.  So playing with different herbs, it was decided that pepper and mint were just the ticket.   Sweet and sun flavored with a bite at the end makes for a much more interesting strawberry jam.  It is deeelishhhousss!!  This is not your momma's strawberry jam that's for sure!






Ingredients:
6 cups crushed strawberries
15 good grinds of black peppercorns
20 mid-size mint leaves, chopped finely
4 cups sugar
1 box premium fruit pectin for less or no sugar needed recipes




Instructions:


Day 1:  
1.  Measure exact amount of fruit and crush.  Place in a large bowl.  Add 15-20 good grinds of fresh whole peppercorns and 20 mid-size mint leaves that have been chopped finely. Mix well.


2.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in your refrigerator overnight.




Day 2:
1.  Prepare jars, lids and screw bands washing in hot sudsy water, rinse well, and put in saucepan.  Pour boiling water over and allow them to sit in the hot water until ready to use.  Drain well before filling.


2.  Place prepared fruit in a large, nonreactive saucepan.  


3.  Add 1/4 cup sugar from measured sugar with box of pectin.  Add this mixture into fruit and stir well.  Add 1/2 teaspoon butter to strawberry mixture to prevent foaming during boiling.  Bring mixture to a full boil (does not stop bubbling when stirred).


4.  Stir in remaining sugar (3 and 3/4 cups) quickly.  Return to a full boil and boil for one minute stirring the entire time.  Be patient as this may take awhile.  


5.  Ladle into prepared jars quickly.  Hot water process for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and place jars on a clean towel.  Cover with another towel and let sit for 24 hours.








Strawberries are the angels of the earth, innocent and sweet with green leafy wings reaching heavenward.  ~Terri Guillemets

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