Thursday, June 19, 2014

Pectin-Free Balsamic Strawberry Jam

As the summer kicks off, strawberries are abundant. So abundant that it seems a crime not to buy them in bulk. But as with all berries, they have a short shelf life. you can certainly wash and freeze them for use in ice cream, smoothies, pies, etc. Or you can eat as many as you can before they start to mold (which can be in days if you're not careful. This year I decided to try and make some jam.
I love strawberry jam. It goes good on everything. But I didn't have any pectin, nor do I like the gel consistancy of most jams. So I opted to try and go pectin free. I also didn't just want something plain. I can buy plain jane strawberry preserves at Costco for very reasonable price and its organic. So I found a recipe for jam and saw a modification to add balsamic vinegar to punch up the taste a bit. I made a few tweaks. Here's what I did.
Pectin-Free Balsamic Strawberry Jam
  • 2 "dry quarts" fresh strawberries
  • 5 Cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp butter
  • 5 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
First I put the strawberries in a medium size pot and over medium heat. I used a potato smasher to roughly crush the berries. This will release some liquid and make it easier to avoid burning anything. Bring this to a low simmer.
Add the butter (to help with foaming) and half the sugar. Stir in until disolved. Then add the remaining sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook for ~45 minutes. Stir often and avoid boil over.
Kill the heat and at the vinegar. Stir to combine well. Done
Now you have some options. I put mine in clean and steriled half-pint jars and boil water bath canned them for 15 minutes (Strongly recommend). You can also just put this in a clean jar, seal and put in the fridge for several weeks. If you go the second route be aware you have a lot of jam to use.

The Outcome:

  1. Jam tastes great!
  2. A bit runny, but not much, I'll increase my cook time to 50 or 55 minutes next time.
  3. I didn't even taste the vinegar, so if you don't like a strong taste, you're good to go. I think it just punched up the strawberry flavor some. Next time I'l personally double the vinegar and see what happens.
  4. That being said, this recipe can be used with confidence.