Running barefoot out the back door I would bolt from the door, around the pool and straight to our garden. I would quickly unlatch the gate and dash barefoot through the rows of cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and string beans to find whatever my mom told me to pick. I would linger just a little too long playing in the garden before my mom would call me to come back in the house.
I still feel a rush of excitement when I’m at a farm or back in my parents’ garden. I love being so connected to my food. Witnessing all the hours that my parents put into caring for their garden gave me an appreciation for local food that is not “fast” food.
Alas, I am without a garden right now. I don’t have the space and my parents live just far enough away that stopping by is not convenient. I have no CSA that I can participate in so I’ve committed to make frequent trips to local farms and farmers’ markets to keep a bountiful stash of fresh produce. On a recent trip to the Collingswood Farmers’ Market I stocked up on strawberries and rhubarb. I’ll show you next week what I did with the rhubarb. For now let me tell you about the dynamic Eugenia Bone and share with you her Strawberry Balsamic Jam recipe. Her book, Well-Preserved, has been a driving force in my canning adventures.
The book contains an array of gorgeously illustrated recipes written with great detail. Her book is unique in that not only does she give you a canning recipe but she gives you ideas on how to use the recipe. For example, the Strawberry Balsamic Jam recipe I’m sharing with you today is also featured in recipes for Strawberry Balsamic Panna Cotta, Rice Pudding with Strawberry Balsamic Jam and Strawberry Balsamic Poached Pears. I’m thrilled that Eugenia was kind enough to give me permission to share this recipe with you. I would highly recommend her book if you plan to embark on any canning adventures.
Last year around this time I was just taking note of the buzz building around canning. I was immediately intrigued by the idea of getting back to basics. This year I am on top of my game. I have a color coded chart for when things come into season. Yep, it’s color coded. That must be the lawyer in me shining through. The chart hangs on the side of my fridge. I see it every morning. I look at it eagerly anticipating what is about to come into harvest. Things are really getting into full swing in this area. I have a long list of things I want to can this year. Eugenia’s Strawberry Balsamic Jam recipe is the first of my many canning adventures. I hope to share more of my adventures with you.
Strawberry Balsamic Jam from Eugenia Bone’s Well-Preserved*
8 cups washed and hulled strawberries (about 1 1/2 pounds, halved if large)
5 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
5 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Pour the strawberries into a large, deep, heavy pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once the strawberries are boiling, add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved. The sugar tends to burn on the bottom, so keep it moving until it is thoroughly dissolved. Bring to a boil and then add the butter. (The addition of butter keeps the foam volume down.) Turn the heat down to medium low and boil the jam gently for 40 minutes, until thickened to a loose, soft jam. Stir in the balsamic vinegar.
Bring 6 half-pint jars and their bands to a boil in a large pot of water fitted with a rack. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs (the tongs don’t need to be sterilized). Simmer new lids in a small pan of hot water, to soften the rubberized flange. When the jars are dry but still hot, use a slotted spoon to fill the jars with the strawberries, leaving 1/2 to 3/4 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims, set on the lids, and screw on the bands fingertip tight. You will probably have leftover juice. You can water bath can the syrup the same way you do the jam, refrigerate it for around 3 days, or discard it.
Place the jars on a rack in a big pot and add enough water to cover the jars by 3 inches. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to medium and gently boil the jars for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and then, after about 5 minutes, remove the jars. Allow them to rest on a dish towel for 6 hours. Check the seals and store in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Refrigerate after opening.
Servings: 6 half-pints
*Printed with permission from Eugenia Bone