Mint. Man, is this stuff hard. I’m making headway through my bunch from last week’s box. Today I made strawberry mint conserve, inspired by the strawberry conserve recipe included in this month’s Bon Appetit magazine. The original recipe can be found here, but I made enough changes that I feel I’ve come up with my own version entirely at this point.
It started with two pounds of strawberries. I’ll admit that these strawberries didn’t come from my CSA box, but they are in season right now. If you can get local ones, fantastic! One pound of strawberries was sliced super fine in my food processor, the second pound was halved. All of them were placed in a large pot with about 2/3 cup of granulated sugar. I left those to macerate (fancy word for “soak in sugar”) at room temperature for about two hours. After two hours the thinly sliced berries are pretty mushy and the halved berries have expressed some of their juice, but they’re still firm and hold their shape.
Transfer the pan to the stove and hit the heat. Bring the berries up to a simmer and cook them for a few minutes – until the berries are hot and starting to soften a little more. Then use a slotted spoon to scoop all the solid berries out of the pot and into a waiting bowl. You’ll be left with just the syrup in the pot. To that syrup add about a cup of chopped mint leaves. Let the syrup cook at a low simmer for about 5 minutes, or until it’s thick enough to draw a spoon through exposing the bottom of the pan for a second before the liquid fills back in.
Place a strainer over the berries and strain the juice back into the bowl. That will remove all the mint leaves. They’ve given their all at this point. I didn’t want to leave them in the conserve because I thought that over time the mint would become too powerful and you’d end up with something that tasted like strawberry toothpaste. Ick. The re-juiced strawberries can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month or frozen for longer than that. It doesn’t matter. Once you taste them, you will realize that nothing in this is going to last a month. It’s like summer in a bowl, I”m telling you. The strawberries are fresh and bright, then you’re hit with a subtle refreshing mint flavor. Oh, it’s good. It’s good warm. It’s good cold. It’s good in a pot nine days old, I assume. Mine won’t make it nine days. I rushed right out and got some Greek yogurt to pour this over. Nom nom nom. This will be my breakfast every day until berry season is over. This would be really good over vanilla ice cream, or churned into vanilla ice cream if you’re so inclined. I would be great over shortcakes with some whipped cream, or over meringues like a pavlova. Or just on a spoon by the light of the fridge at 10:00 in the evening. Hypothetically, of course.