A few secret ingredients take this basic strawberry jam from great to fabulous.
Canning has become one of my favorite summertime hobbies. Few things feel as rewarding as opening a summery jar of preserved fruits or vegetables in the middle of winter, and for me it is well worth the effort.
I’ve put up all kinds of goodies— marinara sauce, berry syrup, applesauce, pie filling, whole peaches, and of course, jam. Strawberry jam was my first love, the first thing I ever canned. And it’s so easy, I continue to make it every year.
Basic homemade strawberry jam is already better than anything you can buy at the store, but this recipe has a few simple additions that make it shine above all other recipes I’ve tried.
Jam is essentially just fruit and sugar cooked until it’s nice and thick. No other ingredients are needed to produce a great tasting jam. However, I like to add two things to mine to really make it shine— vanilla bean or extract and balsamic vinegar.
Just a little of both makes a big difference. Strawberry jam is no longer a minor supporting character. You’ll find yourself putting it on anything and everything, and you’ll even want to eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon.
I know, I’ve been there many times. I put up this batch just last week and already I’ve gone through one whole jar.
Oh darn, I guess I’ll just have to make some more!
- 2 pounds (900 grams) strawberries, hulled and sliced
- ¼ cup (60 ml) lemon juice (see Note)
- 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
- 2-3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, to taste
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally. Periodically skim foam off of the top.
- After 60-90 minutes jam should be thick and drop from a spoon in thick drips.
- Remove vanilla bean pod if you added one, and spoon into desired storage container(s).
- Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
- Store in a sturdy airtight container for up to several months.
- If canning, fill sterilized jars leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars clean and cover with sterilized lids and rings. Process in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Make sure the water covers the jars completely, and that it is boiling for the entire processing time.
- Let cool to room temperature before removing rings and storing.
- Canned jam will store for up to one year at room temperature.
This recipe was originally published June 2012. Photos and recipe have been updated.
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