Sunday, May 8, 2011

Strawberry Balsamic Jam

Vinegar and Strawberries?  Yes, a special kind of vinegar...Balsamic Vinegar.  This exquisite vinegar is not the apple cider or white vinegar typically stored in your pantry. Balsamic is an absolutely splendid pairing for the strawberries and it adds  complexity to the jam. 

Let me say that before you think about whipping up a batch of this jam, it does require a boiling water bath.  So you will need some gear to accomplish this.  If you do not have a canner, a large stock pot will do the trick.  You will need a jar grip or some type of method of removing the jars from the boiling water at the conclusion of their bath.

The purpose of the boiling water bath is to kill any bacteria that may be lurking and is used for canning high-acid foods.  This enables the jam to be stored in a cool dark place without refrigeration. 

The main attraction in this recipe is strawberries and the season is nearly upon us.  Soon we will be able to go to our favorite u-pick, farmer's market or our back yard garden spot for ripe and ready berries so gather your canning gear and give this recipe a try.


Strawberry Balsamic Jam

Yield:  4 1/2 pints

Ingredients:

4.5 pounds Fresh Ripe Strawberries
3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 Tablespoons quality Balsamic Vinegar

Directions:

  1. Wash the strawberries, remove the tops and coarsely chop. 
  2. Place the berries, sugar and lemon juice in a heavy bottom pot and bring to a boil.  (I used my enameled cast iron pot.)
  3. Boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently, and skimming off the foam for 20 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to a slow boil and continue to cook until the jam has almost set. Stir occasionally to ensure it doesn't stick.  This step should take between 45 minutes to an hour.
  5. Add the balsamic vinegar and mix well.
  6. Cook for another 5-10 minutes.

Note:  To test if your jam has set, place a small plate in the freezer before you begin to make the jam.  Whe you think your jam has thickened enough, take a small spoon and spoon a small amount onto the plate.  Place the plate in the refrigerator for a minute or two.  Remove the plate and hold it sideways.  The jam should be thick enough to mound on the plate and not run off.

  • Sterilize your jars and lids and while still hot, fill with the jam leaving about 1/2 inch head space.  Place the lids onto the jars and boil in a water bath with jars covered by 3 inches of water for 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and let sit an additional 5 minutes before removing the jars from the water. 
  • Place the jars on the counter and let sit untouched for 6 hours before storing.  You will hear a pop when the lids seal.  If you aren't around to hear the "music" of the popping lids, you can check by pressing the center of the lid.  If it is down and will not move the jar is sealed.  If the jar isn't sealed, refrigerate and use immediately.

Think creatively this "jammy" jam is good for dipping pretzels, spreading on toasted angel food cake, as topping for waffles or pancakes, filling for crepes, mixed in with your plain vanilla yogurt or used as a glaze for a pork roast or grilled chicken, let your imagination run wild!

Enjoy!
Strawberry Balsamic Jam

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My career is in IT.  Cooking and photography are among a few of my hobbies. In my spare time, which is most weekends I tie on my apron and exercise my creativity by trying new recipes and adapting them to my tastes. I also have a passion for photography that I incorporate by taking photographs to go along with the recipes I post on my blog.  
I also enjoy travel, both near and abroad. Meeting new people, new experiences and cultures and oh, not to mention the food! I hope you enjoy my blog.