When it comes to making jam the variations are endless. I have comes across quirky combinations like blueberries + basil, strawberry + Thai herbs and plums + cardamom. I made plum + cardamom jam last year and it was pretty good, but nothing can prove equal to the delicious simplicity of a traditional strawberry jam. This recipe has one small twist, vanilla beans. Vanilla beans elevate strawberry jam to a new level of deliciousness. When the jam is cooking you will hear passer-bys groan in delight and exclaim that it smells like heaven. I don’t know if heaven smells like strawberry jam but I wouldn’t complain if it did.
3.5 lbs (about 10 cups) strawberries, washed and chopped
4 cups cane sugar
2 vanilla beans, split and scrapped
1 lemon, juiced (about 4 Tbps.) and zested
Add chopped strawberries and 2 cups of sugar to a large pot. Split and scrape the vanilla beans adding the seeds and pods to the pot. Stir to combine the ingredients. Cover the pot and place it in the fridge overnight to allow the strawberries to macerate.
The next day (or the day after) remove the pot from the fridge. Add the lemon juice, zest and another 2 cups of sugar to the macerated strawberries. Stir to combine and place the pot on stovetop. Bring the strawberries to a simmer over medium-high heat and then reduced to medium-low.
Strawberries contain enough pectin to gel into jam but the strawberries need to be simmered down until they reach the right temperature and consistency. This can take between one to two hours so give yourself plenty of time; there’s no sense rushing it. As the strawberries thicken you will need to stir the mixture more frequently to prevent scorching. Continue to simmer until the mixture reaches 104C (220F) and has a thick shiny appearance.
While the strawberries simmer, sterilize your half-pint sized jars and prepare your lids. When the jam is ready ladle it into sterilized jars, wipe the rims before adding the lids. Place the jars into a water bath canner and bring to a boil. When the water is boiling process for 10 minutes. Remove the jars and let them cool on the counter top. Check the seals and place any jars that failed to seal in the fridge. Oh and don’t forget to lick the pot clean!