Strawberry season may be way over for New England but I got a lucky crate compliments of the lovely peeps from the farmers market. I went on Tuesday to look for celery and came home with a 20 pound box of seconds strawberries instead. Go figure!
It took me almost two hours to hull and sort them – a good part were too rotten to save and I sorted through that box one berry at a time. I was downright giddy to break out my canning equipment after a 3+ week hiatus from the hobby/obsession.
I wanted to try something a bit different from the strawberry jams I had made at the beginning of canning season so when I saw Gloria Nicol’s strawberry vanilla jam from Fruits of the Earth, and Better Homes & Garden’s balsamic vinegar-pink peppercorn-strawberry jam I was sold!
I needed a smidgen longer processing time for Gloria’s recipe (but happily tried it without the commercial pectin), and I gave them a ten minute boiling water bath since I don’t use paraffin storage techniques.
For the BH&G recipe I felt uncomfortable using butter as the recipe called for and added lemon juice to the batch to the tune of one tablespoon per pint. It didn’t have a negative effect on the flavor and I felt unsure that 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar was enough acid for it to stay on the shelf to the holidays and beyond.
I had a girlfriend come over and do a taste test with me, just to check how ‘awful’ the jam was. 😉 The peppercorns had softened overnight and brought a nice warmth to the jam but didn’t feel overpowering in my opinion. My husband fell in love with the vanilla strawberry jam and ate it liberally, by the spoonful, without the need of crackers.