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Friday, June 13, 2014

Strawberry Jam with Balsamic and Black Pepper

As I mentioned Monday, last Friday was our you-pick strawberry day. This year, in addition to "plain" strawberry jam, I decided it was time to try something a little more "grown-up."

Strawberry jam with balsamic and black pepper fits the bill.  The balsamic and pepper cut the sweetness of the jam a bit and give it just a bit of heat.  I plan to serve this on the weekend with some local, GMO-feed-free bacon and some buttermilk biscuits.  Yum.

Disclosure:  "Grown-up" or not, I still think this stuff is wonderful in a PB&J.

Strawberry Jam with Balsamic and Black Pepper
4 cups crushed strawberries
7 cups sugar
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2-3 t. whole black peppercorns, crushed
1 package Certo pectin

Crush hulled and trimmed strawberries with a potato masher and place 4 cups in a large pot.  Add sugar, and place over low heat until sugar is melted. Add about half of the crushed peppercorns  Raise heat and bring to a boil.

Add pectin and return to boil. (If you wish to skim the foam off, this is a good point to do so.)  Add balsamic vinegar and remainder of peppercorns to taste.  You really will want to taste the mixture as you add, because you don't want the heat of the peppercorns to overcome the sweetness of the fruit.  I wound up using slightly less than a tablespoon of whole peppercorns for my batch.

Can in half pint or pint jars, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch headspace.  Process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes, then remove and cool.

The Analysis
Fast:  The entire batch of jam probably takes me 90 minutes, counting washing and hulling the strawberries.

Cheap:  Making a specialty jam like this doesn't cost much more than the "plain" version, but it will be cheaper than buying a specialty jam in the store -- if you even can find flavors like this!

Good:  I really enjoy this jam, and I think you will too!
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