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Wednesday, July 9, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Recipe

Salal Berry Jam

About three ½-pint jars

- 12 cups salal berries, cleaned
- ¾ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 to 4 tablespoons sugar, or to taste

1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook berries until soft. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to extract all the juice.

2. Return berry juice to the saucepan over medium heat, add lemon juice and sugar to taste and cook until sugar is dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. To can the jam, sterilize ½-pint jars and lids 10 minutes. Fill with hot jam, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe rims with a clean, damp cloth, place lids on and screw them down tight. Place in a boiling water-bath canner with water covering jars by about 2 inches; process 5 minutes. (Begin timing when water returns to boil.) If you do not wish to can the jam, store in the refrigerator.

Notes: Though the berries are strained to extract the juice, this resembles jam more than jelly. It is so dark it looks black, and it is delicious with freshly baked bread and butter. The amount of sugar in the recipe is very low because salal berries are packed with natural pectin, so sugar is not necessary for thickening. Add to taste for a sweeter jam.

From Susan Herrmann Loomis.

Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company

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