Strawberry Lemon Jam

Strawberry-Lemon Jam

2-3/4 lbs. strawberries

4 cups granulated sugar, divided

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Scant 1/2 cup water

10 paper-thin slices lemon

10 fresh lemon grass leaves, cut in half crosswise

Sterilize your jars, lids and screw bands 10 minutes; prepare a boiling water-bath canner.

Pick over the berries, discarding those that are green, white or mushy. Rinse briefly in a colander and shake off the excess water. Hull the berries and slice coarsely into a 6-quart pot. Stir in 3-1/2 cups sugar and set aside.

In a 2-quart pot, combine 1/2 cup sugar with the lemon juice and water. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add lemon slices and simmer gently until translucent, about 15 minutes. Pour over the strawberries and stir in the lemon grass. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Then bring to a boil. Stir gently and skim the foam from the top. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the temperature reaches 220 degrees (F) on a candy thermometer. The jam should sheet from a metal spoon and a spoonful placed on a cold plate should gel within a few minutes. Remove the pieces of lemon grass.

Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe the rim and threads of each jar with a clean, damp cloth. Place a hot lid on each jar and screw band down firmly.

As each jar is filled and capped, place in boiling-water bath with water 1 to 2 inches over the jars. When canner is full place cover on pot, bring back to a steady boil and process 5 minutes.

Remove jars with a lifter and set on a rack or towel 12 to 24 hours. Do not re-tighten bands. Store in a cool, dark place.

Makes five 1/2-pint jars.

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