Saturday, August 6, 2011

Strawberry Balsamic Jam

     When I started the blog, my only real concern as far as a timeline went, was to post recipes that were seasonal. So much for that. I have been busy enjoying the fruits of summer and haven't had the time to write about them. Although strawberry season in Ontario is officially over, they are still relatively abundant and there will be another glut of them in the fall so this isn't entirely off season.

     Fresh strawberries on the table are the official start of all the good things coming in the summer. My favourites, strawberry shortcake (the real kind, not white cake kind), strawberry rhubarb pie and two kinds of preserves.

     I really like this preserve. It is supposed to be a jam but... I inadvertently made a mistake the first time I made it and so I have a 50/50 shot of it actually setting and I don't mind a bit. My mistake, too much fruit to properly set a jam so I ended up with a thick conserve instead, delicious. The balsamic vinegar cuts the sweet of this recipe and pops the strawberry taste, throw in ground pepper and the combination of sweet and hot, well who can resist sweet and hot??

My stack of preserves
some with pepper, some without

Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Jam/Preserves
12 cups hulled strawberries *
4 ¼ cups sugar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp black pepper -optional
1 pkg (49g) pectin crystals

Crush strawberries with potato masher to make 6 cups of crushed fruit.
Mix pectin with ¼ cup of sugar and whisk to combine.
Stir into berries and in a heavy bottomed non reactive pot bring to a boil stirring continuously.
Add the remaining sugar and return to a full rolling boil. (One you can’t stir down)
Boil for 1 minute longer, stirring continuously to prevent scorching.
Remove from heat and skim off the foam.
Stir in vinegar and pepper.
Ladle into sterilized 250 ml/1 cup jars leaving ¼ “ headspace.
Remove any air bubbles.
Cover with sterilized lids and apply bands to finger tip tightness
Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Remove and let cool.
*If you want this to set, make sure you have only 6 cups of crushed fruit. The added pectin won't gel if you have more and 12 cups un-crushed always has more than that in my experience.

     This is delicious spooned over ice cream, on muffins or toast and I also use this for my thumbprint cookies. A delicious and versatile preserve, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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