After the spring rains come, the plump strawberries arrive in June. These berries are associated with sweet desserts, cakes, and jam – and yet berries are equally renowned for having low sugar. They are highly effective in shakes or smoothies.
In Ontario, the tiny gems are juicy and bright red throughout with bright flavour. By comparison, the ones from California may be much larger in size but have white pith inside.
My personal favourite way to consume strawberries is making homemade jam. The anticipation of tasting sweet juiciness once it’s cooled makes my mouth water just thinking about it. All those delicious berries reminds me of standing beside my Mom in the kitchen as a child. I learned all my canning skills from her.
I was deeply honoured when my Mom passed down all her quilted glass jars and equipment to me a few years ago, including the apron she always wore when making jam. In return I fill her pantry at Christmas with various flavours of jam, chutney, pickles and the like.
I recently made a strawberry-balsamic jam that was so incredible it was worthy of being eaten with a spoon right out of the jar. It’s the type of jam that you can use to recreate a tea shop experience at home with warm scones, clotted Devonshire cream, and tea, of course. I could honestly eat it (right out the jar with a spoon) ’till the cows come home, which is a long time since I don’t have cows!
I hope you enjoy this delicious jam recipe, and I invite you to also to try my favourite scone recipe »
Sweet Strawberry Jam
- 1 cup cranberries whole (frozen or fresh)
- 2 cups 1 pint of strawberries, hulled and finely diced
- 2½ Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 2½ cups sugar
- canning pot with base insert
- jar remover
- three 1-cup jars and two 1/2 cup jars
- 5 standard mouth lids and rings
Let the strawberries (and cranberries, if using frozen) stand in 1 cup of sugar for several hours to draw out the juices. I usually cut the strawberries the night before, cover the bowl and leave it in the fridge.
Transfer to an enamel pot and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over med-low heat, then cook gently until the cranberries have ruptured and the liquid gels (see note below). It will take about 25 minutes once it reached a boil.
In the meantime, wash three 1-cup jars and two 1/2 cup jars. Place them in a canner and cover the empty jars with water. Bring the water to a hard boil and continue to boil for 15 minutes. This will sterilize the jars.
In a separate pot, bring water to a gentle simmer and add 5 canning lids that match your jars. Do not boil these lids, as the manufacturer's instructions.
Ladle into clean, hot jars. Wipe the rims and assemble the lids. Tighten the ring with your fingers until snug.
Place the sealed jars in the canner, bring the water to a boil and continue to boil for 10 minutes. Let stand and then remove the jars onto a cloth to cool.
Do not move then for at least 12 hours, and then check to ensure each lid has snapped down. If it moves then put the jar in the fridge and consume within 10 days. The jars will last about 8-12 months. Refrigerate once opened.
The total fruit at the start was approximately 4 cups and yielded 3 cups of jam. It’s best to have at least an extra 1/2 cup in the canner just in case.
There are two methods that I use to test if the jam is done. The first is to put a small plate in the freezer. When you think the jam is ready, smear a teaspoon of jam across the cold plate, then run your finger through it. It should not run into the gap when you tilt the plate.
The second method is to use a wooden spoon. When you think the jam is ready, lift some into the spoon. Let it stand for a few seconds (don’t blow on it, but you can roll it around). Then pour it back into the pot. The drips should be thick and heavy if it has gelled. If it’s fast and runny then it needs more time on the boil.
About the Author
My name is Brooke and I love to cook. I am passionate about eating for pleasure and nutrition. I write new recipe ideas on Week by Week and am the host of More Than Good Food, a podcast about women’s health and what it means to live a healthy life. During the summer months, when the harvest is ripe, I make small batches of jam that are cooked slowly to get a rich taste with caramel undertones. You can find more homemade jam recipes at Jam in Jars.
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