This jam is best made with local strawberries from your farmers’ market, or with strawberries that you picked yourself at your local farm. Commercial strawberries – even the organic ones, with their firm shape and pale flesh – don’t even come close flavor-wise to local seasonal berries.
Indeed, local strawberries are a different matter. The berries are small, bright red to the core, juicy, incredibly perfumed… in a word, a dream!
This old-fashioned strawberry jam is made by first macerating these local gems and then simmering them slowly until the mixture is jammy. This process concentrates the flavors, making every spoonful of this jam celestial!
The jam is delectable with fresh bread or croissants. But it’s also quite stunning with fresh goat cheeses, brie and Parmesan.
Strawberry jam with balsamic
makes 2 1/2 cups
active time: 45 min
- 2 lbs (905 g) hulled strawberries (6 cups) – small ones left whole, large ones cut in 1″ pieces
- 1 1/2 cups organic sugar
- 1″ piece fresh vanilla bean – split in half lengthwise
- 2 teaspoons aged Balsamic vinegar (preferably at least 15 years old)
- Step 1: Place strawberries in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add the sugar and vanilla bean, stir well and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour, until strawberries start to release their juices and sugar has dissolved.
- Step 2: Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring fruits to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce heat to medium/medium-low. Slow-simmer uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes until the juices have thickened, stirring from time to time. Coarsely mash the fruits, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer another 5 to 10 minutes until the fruits look jammy. As the mixture gets thicker you will have to stir more frequently so the jam doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Now it’s time to start testing the jam for consistency: place a spoonful of the jam on a small plate. Place in the freezer for a few minutes until chilled. The juices should be like a loose jelly and the fruits thick. If the jam is too loose, then continue simmering while stirring continuously and test again until you achieve the desired consistency. Add the balsamic, stir well and simmer for a couple more minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature.
- Cook’s note: Refrigerate for up to 8 weeks. Serve jam at room temperature.
If you’re making a double batch of this recipe, you’ll need to double the ingredients as well as the cooking time. I don’t recommend making more than a double batch at a time, as the berries will cook for too long and lose their flavor. If you want to make this recipe in large quantities, it’s best to make it in separate pots.
Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.