Strawberry Preserves with Balsamic and Black Pepper

Give this recipe a try!  The basil, balsamic and black pepper really elevate the strawberries in this recipe, can be used in sweet or savory applications.   
I don’t use pectin in my strawberry preserves,  I don’t think it needs it-  I don’t use a ton of sugar either just make sure the strawberries are ripe!  During  spring when strawberries are in season I would double this recipe but I would not triple.   Perfect for stockpiling all winter long.  
This strawberry preserve recipe is not only for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but for swirling in homemade ice cream, linzer  cookies, vinaigrettes, frostings, tarts, refrigerator puddings.
Because I’m not using pectin there are a few extra steps I follow.
I keep a plate in the freezer to check on the jelling by  dropping a small amount of hot preserves on the chilled plate,  I run my finger over the preserves and check the constituency- when it looks like jam, it’s ready.    I use a candy thermometer and simmer the strawberries until they reach 210 degrees,  this is called the jelly stage.
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Strawberry Preserves with Balsamic and Black Pepper


Makes 6 (4oz) Jars



Ingredients
2 pounds strawberries,  washed, hulled, cut in half
Zest of a lemon
2 Tbsp. lemon juice, about 1 lemon
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp. black pepper
1 cup sugar
6 standard size basil leaves, chiffonade


Directions
  • In a heavy bottom saucepan on medium-low add strawberries, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper  and lemon juice and ½ the lemon zest.
  • Stirring often to move the strawberries around, after about 20 minutes mash the strawberries to break them up a bit with a potato masher.
  • Continue cooking until the juices are released and the strawberries are broken down about 35- 45 minutes total. (If you're doubling the recipe cooking time will be longer)
  • Add 1 cup of sugar, stir until combined, add your candy thermometer to the side, turn up heat to medium and bring to boil.
  • Start checking the consistency after the candy thermometer reaches about 200 degrees.  At 210 the pectin, sugar and acid jell.  I finish by adding the other ½ of the zest and chiffonade basil and stir in.  
  • Follow standard canning procedures if canning or let the preserves come to room temperature, fill in jars and store in refrigerator.
Here's How I Did It!

Heavy bottom saucepan on medium-low add strawberries, balsamic vinegar, black pepper and lemon juice and ½ the lemon zest


After about 20 minutes mash the strawberries to break them up a bit with a potato masher

finish by adding the other ½ of the zest and chiffonaded basil and stir in.  


Ladle into jars


After canning and cooling top with with cupcake wrapper and then screw on band










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