Open my refrigerator's crisper drawer and you will likely find bright green bunches of basil, cilantro, and flat-leaf parsley, as well as a few wayward sprigs of rosemary or thyme. When I cook, a dish is never finished until I've added a shower of fresh herbs. My latest obsession is fresh tarragon. Its vibrant, licorice-like flavor is a perfect match for summer produce. Here it provides an unexpected twist on classic strawberry jam.
Adding a small handful of chopped fresh herbs is a great way to enliven your favorite jam recipes. If you make the same rhubarb jam every spring, why not add a little lavender? Or throw some basil into your annual batch of peach preserves. No matter what the combination, you really can't go wrong. Fresh herbs add a note of complexity and a surprising pop of flavor. For maximum effect, stir them into your jam at the last minute, right before you ladle it into jars.
This strawberry-tarragon jam has hints of anise and lemon. Try pairing it with goat cheese or use it as a filling between shortbread cookies. This recipe yields about four and half jars. Give four as gifts and keep the half-jar for yourself—trust me, you'll want to dig in right away.
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Pomona's Universal Pectin
- 4 cups coarsely chopped strawberries (from about 2 pints)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 teaspoons calcium water (included in the Pomona's packet)
- 1/4 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
Whisk sugar and pectin a medium bowl and set aside.
Combine strawberries, lemon juice, calcium water, and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the honey and the sugar-pectin mixture and return the fruit mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for one minute.
Remove pot from the heat and skim any foam from the surface of the jam with a cold metal spoon. Stir in tarragon. Ladle the jam into hot sterilized jars and process them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.