Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Strawberry Balsamic Jam

Yes, this should have made an appearance back in June when local strawberries were abundant, but better late than never.  We have had some great luck with organic California strawberries within the last couple of weeks, so while there is nothing better than being able to pick your own, they may just be a stand in if you still want to put up some jam to enjoy through the cooler months ahead. 
I have always made good ol' freezer jam and will continue to do at least one batch a summer, but I was longing for something more out of the ordinary.  I love the combination of fresh strawberries drizzled with balsamic vinegar, so a quick search yielded a recipe from food writer Eugenia Bone.  Don't be afraid of the seemingly odd sounding flavor combination.  The two are really meant for one another and with the syrup you are sure to have left after you can the thickest portion of the mixture, pour a bit over a dish of vanilla ice cream, sit back and enjoy the fleeting days of summer.

Strawberry Balsamic Jam
from the book Well Preserved
INGREDIENTS:
8 cups washed and hulled strawberries (about 1 1/2 pounds, halved if large)
5 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
5 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS:
Pour the 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 (the tongs don’t need to be sterilized). 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 the 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 will probably have leftover juice. You can water bath can the syrup the same way you do the jam, refrigerate it for around 3 days, or discard it.
Place the jars on a rack in a big pot and add enough water to cover the jars by 3 inches. 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. 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. Refrigerate after opening.
Servings: 6 half-pints

9 comments:

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