It’s Mother’s Day weekend. The weekend I kick off canning for the season. From now until the middle of November, I’ll be canning at least one day a week, putting up preserves in these early months, fruits of all sorts. Moving on to pickles. Finishing with tomatoes and apples. It’s exciting and daunting all at the same time. My pantry is dwindling. I’m counting jars of tomatoes and wondering if I can make it to August tomato season.
I’m starting with strawberries. Last year, I kicked off the season with the same jam. I adore this minty fruity jam with a tiny little kick. It’s perfect paired with fresh cheese, like ricotta, fromage blanc or fresh chevre. From Good to the Grain (congratulations to Kim Boyce for her Beard Award!,) I made the excellent Strawberry Barley Scones, using this jam as the filling. So so good.
I’ve adapted the recipe to work with Pomona Pectin, as I intend to add a jam made with pectin to my classes this summer. I realize some people prefer the firm set of a pectin style jam. Of all of the pectins available, Pomona is the most appealing to me.
Pomona allows you to use far less sugar, or even honey instead of sugar, while still ensuring a jammy set to your preserves. You’ll work with calcium water, mixing it up from the smaller of the two packages in the box. The calcium water will make many batches of jam, just keep the excess in the refrigerator. Shake well before each use.
Mix the sugar up with the pectin – again, correct amounts are on the insert. Mix well, as this pectin will clump if not well mixed in.
(For more information on the boiling water bath canning process and step by step instructions, check out this post.)
Strawberry Mint Jam
recipe adapted from Mes Confitures
Yield – 4, maybe 5, 1/2 pint jars
Try to find real peppermint, not spearmint. Most better nurseries will sell peppermint plants at this time of year. It’s a far better behaved plant in the garden, grows happily in a pot, and makes really good minty lemonade.
4 c. strawberries, rinsed and hulled, halved or quartered
Juice of one lemon
5 black peppercorns, crushed
Four large stalks of peppermint, tied together
2 tsp calcium water
1.5 c sugar
2 tsp Pomona pectin
1/2 tsp butter, optional
Crush the strawberries a bit with a potato masher. You want some whole pieces.
In a large glass heavy bottomed preserving pot, gently toss the berries with the lemon juice. Add the mint springs and the crushed peppercorns. Allow to sit, at least two hours.
Get the water in the canner boiling. Get a small pot boiling with the rings. Stir together sugar and pectin.
Add the calcium water to the fruit and bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Remove the mint sprigs.
Add the sugar and pectin and stir vigorously for two full minutes.
Bring the jam back to a boil, then add the butter, stir well to dissolve foam.
Ladle the jam into sterilized 1/2 pt. jars. Wipe the rims, add lids and tighten rings.
Place the jars in the canner, make sure they are covered by at least an inch or two of water, then bring the water to a full boil
Once the water starts boiling, being timing the processing. Process for 10 minutes.
Remove the jars from the canner to a clean towel. Allow the jars to cool, undisturbed, for a day, then wipe the jars, label and place on your pantry shelves and admire your handiwork.