I love strawberries and making jam. So, I set out to make some strawberry jam, but not with just any strawberries, mind you. I went straight to the source – the strawberry patch -- at Washington Farms.
Strawberry season started early this year, and I didn’t get there until mid-May, but I still managed to pick two buckets full of berries. I froze a bunch in zip lock bags so they wouldn’t go bad before I had time to make the jam.
I found a recipe that was easily adaptable to the amount of strawberries I have on hand. This is the first batch of strawberry jam for the season. It’s a beautiful color and tastes great, with just a hint of vanilla.
Strawberry Vanilla Jam
Adapted from: Put 'em Up! by Sheri Brooks Vinton
Makes: About 4 1/2 Cups
To provide the right amount of pectin and flavor to the jam, it is recommended that you use a combination of ripe strawberries and not so ripe strawberries. Fortunately, I was able to find some of each.
- 10 cups strawberries, hulled and halved if large
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 + 1 T lemon juice
- 1 vanilla bean
Toss the strawberries with the sugar in a large bowl and let the mixture sit overnight to coax out the juices.
I started this process with frozen strawberries and put the bowl in the refrigerator overnight.
I took the berries out of the refrigerator the next morning and left them on the counter to thaw completely.
Here are the thawed strawberries with all of their juices.
Transfer the fruit mixture to a large nonreactive pan. I used my stainless steel Dutch oven.
Place a plate in the freezer to use to test the gel.
Bring mixture to a boil. Crush the berries to release the juices. Slit the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds and add the seeds and the pod to the jam mixture along with the lemon juice.
Continue to cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until the jam reaches the desired gel stage, about 20 minutes. To check if the gel is set, remove the plate from the freezer and place a spoonful of jam on it. The jam is ready when it doesn’t spread on the plate.
Remove the jam from the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to release air bubbles. Skim off any foam. I added a little bit of butter to the jam while it as boiling so it didn’t foam anymore. You can see the difference in the photos.
Remove the vanilla pod. Then ladle the jam into hot 8 oz. jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace.
Release the trapped air, wipe the rims clean; center lids on the jars, and screw on the jar bands.
Process the jars for 10 minutes in the water-bath canner. If you live in a higher altitude or need more detailed instructions on water-bath canning, please refer to the instructions at the National Center for Home Preservation.
Turn off the heat, remove the canner lid, and let the jars rest in the water for 5 minutes. Remove the jars and set aside for 24 hours. Check seals, then store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.
Happy Canning and Baking!
Here are some of the references I use in my canning adventures.