Strawberry Jam – Three Ways

Strawberry Balsamic Basil Jam

I have such a polarized relationship with small-batch canning.

I believe there are some awesome reasons to do small-batch canning of produce. Here they are:

fresh strawberries

fresh strawberries

fresh sliced strawberries

There’s also the fact that you can experiment more freely because it’s just a batch of 4 tiny jars that you might potentially screw up, not a whole dozen of the big guys.

And, when you’re doing up a small batch of fruit you can get a nice jelly consistency without using fruit pectin because it doesn’t take a lot of time to cook it down. The bonus of that is the end product doesn’t taste overcooked.

cooking strawberry jam

cooked strawberries

But the other side of things is the simple fact that canning takes a lot of time and space. And to be honest, sometimes all that work seems a bit much for just 4 small jars of jam.

Until you taste it, that is. That first taste makes it all worth it. (Okay, I guess it’s not all that polarized. I love small-batch canning!)

And guys, on the Friday night of the last Long Weekend in Summer I did three different kinds. Wait, that sounded really braggy. Didn’t mean it to. It’s just that I was kind of on a roll and when you’re doing small batches you can cook it down really quickly. So then while you’re processing the one batch, you can get a pretty decent head start on your next batch.

What kinds did I make?

Well technically I made three kinds of jam but didn’t actually jar up all three kinds. I made a basic recipe of strawberry jam to make sure it tasted okay before adding a bunch of fun things. (And, yes it did taste good!) The two kinds I ended up jarring up and sealing for future eatings were Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Jam and Strawberry Balsamic Basil Jam.

homemade strawberry jam

One comments that I feel is important to note: I don’t like the amount of sugar in this recipe. There’s a lot for my liking. I am going to be working on one that uses much less sugar and rely on getting the jelly consistency from using apples to get that pectin.

And now that we’ve gotten that little disclaimer out of the way, here are the recipes.

Remember, these are just the amounts and times for small-batch canning to make 4 half-pint jars. If you want to make more, then you’ll have to adjust the measurements and cooking time accordingly.

Starter Strawberry Jam

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
Directions:
  1. Combine sliced strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium heat until mixture starts to lightly boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer, while stirring, for about 25-30 minutes until the mixture is nicely thickened and can coat the back of a spoon.
  2. Follow instructions below to properly can and process the jam.

Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Jam

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine sliced strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Heat over medium heat until mixture starts to lightly boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer, while stirring, for about 15-20 minutes. Add in balsamic vinegar and black pepper. Stir to combine. Continue to simmer on low heat until the mixture is nicely thickened and can coat the back of a spoon, another 15-20 minutes.
  2. Follow instructions below to properly can and process the jam.

Strawberry Balsamic Basil Jam

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced basil
Directions:
  1. Combine sliced strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Heat over medium heat until mixture starts to lightly boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer, while stirring, for about 15-20 minutes. Add in balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine. Continue to simmer on low heat until the mixture is nicely thickened and can coat the back of a spoon, another 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and add fresh minced basil. Stir to combine.
  2. Follow instructions below to properly can and process the jam.

How To Pack and Process Your Jars of Jammy Goodness:

The experience I have with canning isn’t extensive. I just do what I know works for me when I’ve done this before.

Sterilize jars. I use the dishwasher to do this. The water is super hot without boiling and the jars stay warm in the sealed dishwasher until you need them. I run the shortest cycle through without detergent and just pull one jar out as I need it.

Pack jars. I use a canning funnel that came with a set of canning tools I bought last year. It’s a wide-mouth funnel that allows you to easily fill jars without getting the rims yucky and without a lot of spillage. Even with using the funnel you’ll want to carefully wipe the rim of the jar before placing on the lid and ring.

Lid and ring your jars. I fill a small saucepan with water and bring it to a light simmer. Place the jar lids and let them sit for just a few minutes to warm up. Using tongs take out one lid at a time and place it on a filled jar with a clean rim. Place a ring on to seal the lid on. Do not over-tighten.

Put into boiling water bath for 10-15 minutes. Fill a canner with water but not too full, or you’ll have to dump some out when the jars get added. Place a canning rack in the pot. (Most canners come with a canning rack when you buy it.) Bring the water to a full boil. Place your jars carefully in the canning rack and lower into the boiling water, ensuring the jars are covered by at least a  bit of water. Boil for about 10-15 minutes. Carefully lift up the canning rack and remove the jars with the special rubber jar lifter to your prepared cooling area.

Cool the jars slowly. Place a large tea towel on your countertop in a draft-free place. Place hot jars on one half of the towel with a bit of space between each jar. Cover the jars with the remaining half of the towel. Let cool for a few hours.

Let seal. Your jar lids will begin to make the happy popping sound as the lids fully seal. All your jars should seal within 12 hours, but likely much sooner. If any jars have not sealed after 12 hours, refrigerate the jars and use the jam within a week or two.

Voila.

So what do you think of unique flavors in traditional jams? What would you use Strawberry Balsamic Basil Jam for?

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7 Responses to “Strawberry Jam – Three Ways”

  1. September 4, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    Check out Pomona’s pectin (it’s in the natural healthfood aisle)- it requires far less sugar!

    • Megan
      September 4, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

      Hey Kate! Thanks for the tip. I’ll have to look for it here.

  2. Nancy
    September 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    Sounds wonderful! I was just going to ask if we can use something other than sugar… xylitol? Or something else perhaps? Thanks so much.

    • Megan
      September 4, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

      To be honest I don’t have any experience with xylitol at all, especially with how it would react in canning. If you give it a try, please let me know. I’m curious!

  3. MJ
    October 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    This would be a great holiday gift. How long is the jam good for after it has been jarred?

    • October 9, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

      If it’s been canned appropriately and is unopened, it could potentially last a year or two.

  4. Steph
    October 26, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

    Just finished a batch of the Strawberry Balsamic. Sadly I only got two 1/2 pint jars and a half of a 1/2 pint jar. Looking forward to trying it =)

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