It's strawberry season! On Mother's Day, we took a trip out to Vollmer Farm in Bunn, NC, to pick local, organically grown strawberries. The kids always enjoy spending time at the farm (especially the Back Forty playground!). And back home, I enjoy turning some of our fresh picked bounty into yummy Strawberry Vanilla Jam!
Rinse, hull and slice your strawberries. You will need 5 cups of crushed berries for the jam. I add the sliced strawberries to my Vitamix and pulse quickly, working in several small batches until I have the needed amount.
Add the crushed strawberries to a stainless steel saucepan along with 4 tablespoons of lemon juice, a 1/2 teaspoon of butter (helps to reduce foaming) and half a vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise. Whisk in pectin (1 - 1 1/2 boxes or 9 tablespoons). Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring frequently.
Next, add 7 cups of sugar (all at once), stirring constantly. Return the mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Using a large slotted metal spoon, skim off any foam. Remove the vanilla bean.
Nota Bene: Visit the Fresh Preserving website for instructions on how to prep jars and lids and for basic water bath canning procedures.
Add hot jam to prepared canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
Process jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. When processing time is done, turn off heat and remove the lid from canner. Allow jars to rest in canner for 5 minutes. Carefully remove jars from canner without tilting. Place jars upright on a towel in a draft-free area and let cool, undisturbed for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, check lids for seal before placing in pantry. If jars did not seal properly, refrigerate immediately or reprocess.