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make strawberry preserves

On 13, Jun 2010 | No Comments | In advice | By All Year Garden

INGREDIENTS: (1) bowl of strawberries, (2) pounds of sugar, (3) cups of water, juice from one lemon.

Soak the strawberries in ice water for an hour. Change the water a couple of times so that it stays ice cold. Strain them and drain them on a towel. After they are dry, place them in a heavy non-stick pan in alternating layers with sugar and end with a thick layer of sugar on top. Squeeze the  juice from half a lemon on top. Cover the pan with a cheese cloth and let stand over night in a cool place for 10 to 12 hours.

Place the pan on low heat till all the sugar dissolves, mixing very gently as to not crush the fruit, and then turn up the heat and let it come to a boil. Skim the foam as it appears. Add the juice from the other half lemon and let it boil until a bead of syrup will keep its shape when dropped on a cold plate. Do not over boil, it burns and turns very tough quickly.

Pour the preserves in a clean dry pan and cover it with a damp cheese cloth. When the mixture has cooled down, pour it in mason jars and follow the sealing and pasteurizing instructions written in the black raspberry jam recipes.

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make calendula-mint salve

INGREDIENTS: (1) cup of infused oil (see instructions below), (1) ounce of beeswax.

To prepare infused oil, fill a glass jar with the dried aromatic plant of choice ( in this case dried calendula petals mixed with dried crushed mint leaves) and pour enough good quality oil in the jar to completely cover them. Place a piece of cheesecloth or an unbleached coffee filter over the mixture, secure it with a rubber band and place the jar in a sunny window for 10 days. Do not put a lid on the jar, or you might need to paint the ceiling sooner than you planned. After 10 days strain out the plant material to recover the oil. Good oils to use are almond oil, coconut oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil.

To prepare the salve, warm but don’t boil the infused oil. Separately melt the wax and pour it into the warmed oil. Pour a drop of the mixture onto a plate and put it in the freezer until it cools completely. After it cooled, try it on your hands for consistency. If it is too thin, add more wax. If it is too thick, add more oil. Pour the warm liquid in small tins or glass jars and allow it to cool down completely before covering. Keep it in the refrigerator for up to a year.

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