Thank you Tigress! The Can Jam was just the kick-start I needed to get back to my blog.
The “Hiatus” as it will henceforth be called was an unplanned lull caused by a busy schedule coupled with a lack of motivation and the death of a computer. I’ll be detailing the causes of the hiatus and all of the very exciting things that happened while I was away in the coming weeks.
However, back to The Jam. Tigress has a deadline. In order to be a part of The Jam, this post had to be up by Friday, so I had to get my berries selected and jammed with enough time to get my post done before then. I am a horrible procrastinator and usually wait until the last minute but I have soccer tonight and a meeting all day tomorrow and Murphy and his stupid laws haven’t been very kind to me lately so I wanted to make sure I didn’t get eliminated by missing my deadline.
This month’s featured ingredient was berries. Joel and Dana at Well Preserved announced it after the last Can Jam Roundup. They have lots of helpful tips for berries and jam on their site and it is an excellent blog in general~ you should check it out. No. Really. Go now.
Any kind of berry would do, but something local and in-season is preferred. Lucky me, strawberries arrived early so I got to go out to Urka Farms and pick some last week and again yesterday. I used the last of the berries I picked last week to concoct this delicious jam. I love jam in general, but this stuff is soooo good. I will definitely be making some more.
Herbed Strawberry-Balsamic Jam Printable Version
- 1500 g strawberries
(500 g of mine were whole; the other 1000g were sliced)
- 3 sprigs rosemary
(If you read my Rhubeena post, you’ll remember my rant about recipe quantities. I’ve again included a photo to avoid confusion. If you didn’t read the ‘beena post, what are you waiting for??)
- 900 g. sugar
- 9 T. Balsamic vinegar
- coarsely cracked black pepper; about six turns from the mill or 1/2 tsp.
- Place 2-3 small plates in the freezer to chill.
- Add berries, sugar and rosemary to a large sauce pan.
- Bring mixture to a boil; boil 2 minutes stirring frequently.
- Remove mixture from heat and allow to steep from 2 to 24 hours.
(Or as long as it takes you to pick 20 more pounds of strawberries.)
- After your berries have steeped, return the pot to the stove; add balsamic vinegar and cracked pepper and return to a boil.
- Prepare your jars and your boiling water bath.
- Allow the sauce to simmer at a medium-low heat until it thickens.
Keep a close eye on the sauce during this process; the jellying point can be easily passed resulting in jam more like taffy than jam. Test for jellying by spooning hot jam onto a chilled plate; jam is ready when you push it and it wrinkles.
- Skim foam from the jam’s surface and remove rosemary sprigs.
- Ladle jam into hot jars and add lids.
- Process the jars for ten minutes in a boiling water bath.
I’m trying to go the pectin-free route with my jams this year (although I might crack and make one batch of freezer jam because it is yummy) so this jam is a longer-cook variety. The result is a really dark, rich jam. The balsamic vinegar also adds a depth of color to the finished jam. My photo doesn’t do it justice but the color is amazing.
The rosemary is very subtle but after my first taste-test I was worried that 6 turns of pepper was too much. I shouldn’t have worried; the finished product has just the right amount of spice and even the little people in my house with less-refined palates enjoy it.
Oh, I almost forgot. I still have lots of strawberries to can so check back soon; I’m thinking a Strawbeena is in order.