I hit a milestone this weekend— jam making! I’m totally cool with making bacon and smoked tongue and stuff, but jam always scared me. In high school my biology teacher traumatized me with exaggerated stories of botulism poisoning. Also, pectin makes me nervous. I’ve taken all sorts of canning and jam making classes, but I still couldn’t handle.
I was first introduced to the strawberry/vanilla combo by Confituras, an incredible artisan company based here in Austin (seriously, you should buy some). For my attempt at the flavor, I used this recipe from Ball. I knew enough to stick with established recipes, but it sucked because five pounds of crushed strawberries does not in fact equal five cups. I upped the lemon juice to ward off botulism because I’m paranoid like that.
All of that said, I’m lax about canning. I just use a huge pot because I’m against weighing myself down with gear. People have scoffed at me using a towel in the bottom of the pot instead of rack, but the pickling expert at Gramercy Tavern once told me that’s what she does. If it’s good enough for her, then its good enough for me. Also, I used my grilling tongs to pull the jars out of the boiling water, but that’s been putting me in precarious situations. I might break down and get some tongs. I’ve earned it after making this fantastic jam.
Strawberry Vanilla Bean Jam
- 2.5 pounds crushed strawberries
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- 2 teaspoons Pomona’s Universal Pectin
- 3.5 cups granulated sugar
- 4 half pint preserving jars, bands, and lids
1. Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
2. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and vanilla bean and seeds in a 6- or 8-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that can not be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly.
3. Add entire measure of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.
4. Ladle hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
5. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.