Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Small Batch Canning - Strawberry Vanilla Jam

Local, organic strawberries from Vollmer Farm

Canning is becoming one of my favorite ways to preserve seasonal goodness!  Even as a working mom, I've found canning to be a wonderful (and useful) hobby that I can do in the evenings after work or on the weekends.  Last Friday to kick off my weekend, I decided to can some jam using some of the strawberries we picked from Vollmer Farm.  I used the recipe for "Traditional Strawberry Jam" from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.  

The recipe calls for 5 cups of crushed strawberries.  Instead of crushing the berries by hand with a potato masher, I used my Vitamix.  Just a quick pulse on low up to speed level 2 or 3 until the strawberries were finely chopped, but not pureed. 

For something different, I tried one of the variations listed with the recipe.  I added half of a Madagascar vanilla bean, split lengthwise, to the strawberries while they cooked.  The bean is removed prior to transferring the jam to jars.  But, it imparts a subtle vanilla flavor to the jam.

The best part of canning strawberry jam, having homemade lemon pancakes topped with strawberry vanilla jam the next day for breakfast!  YUM!

Strawberry Vanilla Jam
Recipe from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
(Can also be found online here at the Ball Fresh Preserving website)

5 cups crushed strawberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 box of pectin {I always use 1 full box of pectin and half of a second}
7 cups sugar
half of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 tsp butter {optional - but adding butter to the berries prior to cooking cuts down on the amount of foam generated during boiling}

 -Combine strawberries, lemon juice and vanilla bean in a 6 to 8 quart saucepan.  Stir in pectin until dissolved.  Bring strawberries to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

-Add in entire amount of sugar and stir to dissolve.  Bring mixture back to a full rolling boil.  Boil hard for 1 minute, while stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and skim off any foam.  Remove vanilla bean.

-Add hot jam to canning jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Process in a water bath canner for 10  minutes, adjusting for altitude.  When processing is done, remove jars from canner and allow to cool for 24 hours.  Check seal before placing cooled jars in the pantry.  If jars did not seal properly, the jam must be refrigerated immediately or reprocessed.

*This recipe yielded 5 half pint jars and 2 pint jars of jam for me.

Mary Ellen

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  1. I like recipes that are a little different such as this one. I'll have to give it a try. I made strawberry jam last year from a recipe that called for just 1/2 cup of sugar and cooking for 45 minutes. It did not make jam or jelly but it is a fresh tasting 'sauce'. I made up my mind that this year I'll buy the pectin and use it for my jams and jellies from now on.

  2. Sounds delicious! I love to can many things, especially in smaller amounts. Your lemon pancakes sound fantastic! I believe I'll make some and serve it with my lemon-blueberry jam as well as the strawberry! Love your site!