This is the first of the Spread the Love collection. As a second semester senior, I have plenty of free time to attempt all the recipes that I have pinned/thought of over the past, well, 22 years? My first jam uses a balsamic that I bought at an oil store in Alexandria, VA with my sister. It is pomegranate balsamic, but any flavor would definitely give your jam an interesting flare. It doesn’t taste too much different than regular jam, but it sounds super sophisticated and impressive.
Issues: I used 4 1/2 cups sugar and half a box of pectin, so my jam was too runny. I ended up emptying all the jars back into a pot, re-boiling and adding the remaining ingredients needed to thicken the mixture. Then I re-canned them and they are much better now.
– 5 cups sugar
– 8 cups strawberries, washed and halved
– 1 lemon
– 6 tablespoons quality balsamic (I bought pomegranate balsamic from an oil store)
– 1 box Sure-Jell Pectin
- Freeze a glass plate.
- Halve all the strawberries and put them in a bowl.
- Squeeze juice from one half of a lemon into the bowl.
- Let sit for 20 minutes. At this point, put all of your glass jars in the oven at 450* and sanitize.
- Soak the jar caps in a bowl of very hot water. This makes it so that when you screw the cap on, the inner plastic is softened for a better seal.
- Back to the jam: put the strawberry and lemon mixture in a big pot on medium heat. Depending on your desired consistency, you can mash the strawberries in the pot. If you like whole fruit in the jam stir once a minute or every two minutes but don’t mash.
- Once the mixture comes to a soft boil, add the sugar and pectin. I wanted this recipe to be all natural, but strawberries have the lowest pectin level and make it nearly impossible for jam to congeal without added pectin. Use the whole box.
- Stir frequently to avoid the sugar burning the bottom of your pot. It is important that, at some point during the process, your jam comes to a full boil for at least 5 minutes. This ensures the thickening of the mixture.
- Add the balsamic and stir. Let boil (stirring occasionally) for 30 minutes. At this point, take a teaspoon of jam and put it on your frozen plate. Let sit for five minutes and then test the consistency.
- Spoon jam into individual hot jars, wipe the rim and screw on cap immediately. Try to get a proportional amount of whole fruit/jam mixture.
- Labels: Print out your label using the template attached. Rub the label against 3M adhesive or use a glue stick to make the back sticky.
- Cut the label using an x-acto knife
- Stick the label on the jar, respositioning to make the two ends meet as evenly as possible.
- Cut fabric of your choice into circles that, when placed on top of the jar, extend an inch past the edge.
- Hot glue the top of the jar and place the fabric on quickly
- Tie rope or ribbon in a bow around the fabric for a finishing touch