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Earl's "Lemon Aneurysm" Jam
This recipe was a lot of fun to cook up (and is even more fun to eat!) Mellow and sweet with just a hint of berry/lemon tang, it tastes great on toast, on ice cream or even just right out of the jar! The fun presentation looks tricky, but it's easier to do than you might think (and tends to impress-- making jars of Lemon Aneurysm a great gift for friends and family!)
Yield: about 5 pints
- 6 cups ripe strawberries
- 8 ripe white peaches
- 12 meyer lemons
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 large, metal pot
Note: This recipe works best when made with strawberries and peaches that are at maximum sweetness and ripeness (and with meyer lemons that have had a chance to achieve maximum ripeness on the tree.) Your strawberries should be ripe enough that they are a deep red color and you can almost puree them with a potato masher. Your peaches should also be so ripe that you can squeeze the juice out of them and use your fingers to easily separate the meat from the skin. When choosing meyer lemons, try to get your hands on fruit that has had a chance to mellow in the sun (on the tree) to the point where there's almost no bite to the juice. (A little bite is good, but this recipe can rapidly turn sour with meyers that aren't fully ripe-- or worse, lemons of a different, more acidic variety!)
- Place strawberries in your large metal pot and smash them with a potato masher or a fork until they are almost pureed.
- Using your hands, squish each peach until all the juice comes out of it (and into your mixture.) Make sure to squeeze the pulpy, meaty parts into the mix too (everything except the skin, the seed and anything else that's too firm still to just pulp out into the pot.)
- Set aside your four largest meyer lemons (or one for each jar, depending on the size of the jar) and (carefully) use a knife to cut the skin in a spiraling line about 1/4 inch wide around the entire outside of the lemon. Your goal is to get a long, even strip of peel. Set these strips aside and squeeze the juice from all of your lemons into the mix (make sure to set aside or throw away the pulp and seeds-- you only want the juice.)
- Put the burner on low heat and stir.
- Continue to stir throughout the whole process. Add your sugar to the mix. After a few minutes, turn heat up to medium and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together. Taste (carefully) and add additional sugar to taste.
- Bring ingredients to a low boil and let them boil for only a few minutes (stir regularly enough and adjust heat so you get a few bubbles but the boil doesn't become foamy and roiling.)
- Turn off the heat and continue to stir. Once mixture starts to thicken and cool a little (about 5 minutes) begin to Ladle the mix into sterilized jars. Starting at the level of about the first 10% of each jar, begin setting one of your strips of meyer lemon peel in the mix and slowly lay it out in a spiral along the inside of the jar as you fill the jar. Watch your fingers! The mix is still hot!
- Once your jars are full to within 1 to 1/2 inch of the rim (and every jar has a strip of peel in it,) wipe the rims clean, then seal in your preferred canning method (I tend to stick the tightly-lidded jars in the oven at 225 for about 30 minutes to seal them.) Jars will be hot before and after you put them in the oven, so be careful when handling them.
- Allow jars to cool somewhere safe and out of reach of pets and children. Once jars are cool, check the seals to make sure they're down and not popped. If any of the jars have popped lids, keep them in the fridge and eat them as soon as you can (aka: before they go bad. Shouldn't be a problem because they're so darn good.)
- Display prominently so that all may admire your handiwork and enjoy!