Difficulty Level Easy
One of the first things I made when I started my series on Preserving the Harvest last year was strawberry jam. It turned out to be one of my more popular efforts. I really wanted to make more jam this year, but I hate to repeat myself so I started looking for a different recipe to try.
I had read about a new book called Well Preserved by Eugenia Bone with a recipe for strawberry jam with balsamic vinegar. I bought the strawberries and then went to look for the book, which turned out to be a bit of a mistake. The book had been well reviewed and featured in the food section of the New York Times, so all the available copies had been snapped up from my local book shops. We ended up eating a lot of strawberries.
I did eventually find the book and try the recipe for pickled asparagus, but by then I was only days away from my piano exam and spending the time to find more Ontario strawberries and then clean and cook them instead of working on scales and arpeggios was out of the question. The day after my exam, my husband and I took off on a much needed and much anticipated trip to Paris.
The strawberries in the Paris food markets were gorgeous. I went on to Dublin to visit a dear friend and she served me fantastic local strawberries. Everywhere I went, the strawberries seemed to taunt me I kept thinking about how there wouldn't be any wonderful homemade strawberry jam to see us through the winter.
When I arrived home I told my daughter that I'd been kicking myself about not getting the jam made and she laughed and said "You haven't been gone that long!" Apparently strawberries were still abundant. After all of that, I got my strawberry jam, and it was worth the wait. I got smart this year and ended up with jars of strawberry syrup as well as jam. I processed one full jar of syrup and had a bit left over that I am storing in the refrigerator. It's thick and gooey and the flavour is quite intense. You can use the syrup in smoothies, or over ice cream or as a glaze over strawberries on a cheesecake.
As much as I loved the clean, pure taste of the jam from last year, this has more depth and a much more sophisticated taste. Now I'm looking forward to February when I can open up a jar and be transported back to—now.
|8 cups||washed and hulled strawberries halved if large (about 1 1/2 lbs)|
|½ tsp||unsalted butter|
|5 tbsp||balsamic vinegar|
- Pour strawberries into a large, deep, heavy pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once the strawberries are boiling, add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved. The sugar tends to burn on the bottom, so keep it moving until it is thoroughly dissolved. Bring to a boil and then add the butter. (The addition of butter keeps the foam volume down.) Turn the heat down to medium-low and boil the jam gently for 40 minutes, until thickened to a loose, soft jam. Stir in the balsamic vinegar.
- Bring 6 half-pint jars and their bands to a boil in a large pot of water fitted with a rack. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs. Simmer new lids in a small pan of hot water, to soften the rubberized flange. When the jars are dry, but still hot, use a slotted spoon to fill the jars with strawberries, leaving 1/2 to 3/4 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims, set on the lids and screw on the bands fingertip tight. You can water bath the syrup the same way you do the jam.
- Place the jars on the rack in the pot and cover by at least 3 inches of water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to medium and gently boil the jars for 10 minutes. (If you use pint jars, process for 15 minutes.) Remove the cover and then, after about 5 minutes, remove the jars. Allow them to rest on a dish towel for 6 hours. Check the seals and store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
From Well Preserved by Eugenia Bone