Jay and I were out shopping the other night and stopped into a bookstore because he has wanted reading material but refuses to touch my Kindle. We didn’t end up with any real reading material because we spent most of our time in the cookbook isle (surprise!). After sitting in the store, going through book after book about canning, we came to a decision and I have to say we’re really excited. We got Put ’em up! A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook from Drying and Freezing to Canning and Pickling. It is a really great guide to canning, has lots of pictures, and guides for storing in the fridge only, as well as methods to preserving what you make with jars and cans. Our first attempt (which has turned out really well!!!) is Strawberry Vanilla-Bean Jam.
Strawberry Vanilla-Bean Jam
For this recipe you will need:
8cups strawberries, hulled and halved
1/4cup lemon juice (the recipe calls for bottled lemon juice but we used fresh, it was 3small lemons)
1 vanilla bean or 1T of vanilla paste (if this freaks you out, just leave it out, it will be just as delicious.)
4 half-pint jars. (We had a little extra that we just stored in a bowl and it is almost gone already!)
Combine the strawberries and sugar, and let them sit overnight and develop lots of juices!
- Put the strawberry mixture in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly and crushing the strawberries.
- Add the lemon juice and vanilla bean. Continue cooking and stirring for about 20 minutes. (If you’re not sure if it is thick enough, place a small spoonful of jam onto a plate, let it cool down. Push the jam with your finger and if it wrinkles as you push it, it is done!)
- Remove the pot from the heat, let it rest for 5 minutes and stir every once in a while to release any air bubbles. If you don’t want to can the jam, you can store it in containers for up to 3 weeks, refrigerated.
To can the jam, use the boiling water method. This means ladle the jam in to clean, hot jars (we used 1/2pint jars) and leave a 1/4inch of space in the jar. Place the lids on the jars, finger tight and boil for 10 minutes. Put the jars aside and check to make sure the lids are on tight.