If you remember jam making from your childhood, you will remember endless work in steaming hot kitchens. All this is daunting. You will also remember row upon row of jars that looked like so many jewels lined up neatly on shelves, against the long winter. So, I thought I would take the focus on making just a little jam at a time – perhaps 2 cups of jam so that you have enough without having to can it.
I must warn you, jam making is addictive. Perhaps some of you should turn back now before you are overrun with beautiful jars full of luscious treats. Feeling brave? Read on.
Balsamic Strawberry Jam with Black Pepper
1 lb of strawberries – these should be the smallest you can find. Also, make sure they are just ripe – if they are soft, this will not jell for you. If
they are mostly ripe with a few underripe ones, that works best.
2 cups of sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice, fresh or bottled
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
Rinse the strawberries in cold water, stem and core. Quarter if large. Take 2 cups of sugar, and 2 tbsp of lemon juice, mix with the strawberries, and let sit covered overnight in the fridge. The next day, strain the strawberries and cook the juice in a heavy pot. Stir frequently. Boil until you have a thick syrup. (222o F at sea level). When the syrup reaches this temperature, add the strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and the pepper. Bring the temperature back up to 222o F. Take off heat. Let sit for 5 minutes and skim off as much foam as you can. (if you put a spoon in the freezer for 10 minutes before you skim, the foam sticks to it)
In the meantime, wash a glass jar and lid in soapy water. Put the jar in an oven at 250o F for 10 minutes. Ladle it into the hot jar and wipe rim of the jar, then put lid on. Let sit overnight to cool. If it doesn’t set, you can pour it on angel food cake or ice cream for an elegant dessert.
Now – was that hard?
JamGoddess May 2011