Tuesday, August 21
Strawberry Balsamic Jam
We ate well on our recent visit to south Florida (Key Lime Pie tasting notes and recipe coming soon!), but the trip still left us craving California food. It's not that the food there is bad, but the food here really is fantastic. Even the burrito we shared in the airport terminal when we landed in Oakland tasted amazingly good.
I have been meaning to post this recipe for a while now but kept putting it off. I didn't take pictures when I initially made it, and thereafter was more interested in eating the jam than in photographing it. Also, I wasn't sure how it would go over, but it has turned out to be quite popular, even with my mom who claims to hate balsamic vinegar. The balsamic isn't easy to identify, but it gives the jam a complex, earthy flavor that's addictive.
One of my favorite early summer salads is simply fresh strawberries tossed with balsamic vinegar. Sometimes I use salad greens, but when I want to be really decadent, I go without. I was inspired to try a similar jam weeks ago when I spotted a crate of luscious looking organic strawberries at the farmers market and knew that 1) I had to have them, and 2) I would not be able to use them all right away.
Don't cut down on the sugar, as that's what preserves the fruit and thickens the jam. That said, the one change I might make next time would be to use pectin, as it was a bit sad seeing all those fresh strawberries get cooked away while I waited for the mixture to thicken. You can reduce thickening time by using a wide, shallow pan and cooking the jam in small batches to hasten evaporation.
-- Strawberry Balsamic Jam
*2.2 lbs strawberries, washed, tops removed
*4 3/4 cups sugar
*3 tbsp lemon juice
*4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1. Place the strawberries and sugar in a non-reactive saucepan. Stir to combine, then cover and stand for a few hours.
2. Add the lemon juice and balsamic vinegar and bring to the boil. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes until setting point is reached.
3. Allow to stand for 10 minutes and pour into sterilised jars. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water canner. For more detailed instructions on canning, download these step by step canning instructions from the National Center for Home Food Preparation.