We planted strawberries last year, and we fortunately have plants loaded with fruit this summer. Since I've been a single parent for the week while my husband is gallivanting around Europe for work (I'm sure you can't sense my jealousy), I kept tucking my berries in the fridge with sugar to keep them until I got around to doing something with them. My mother-in-law kindly kept the kiddos for a night, so I could get some things done including making deliciousness out of my berries.
I made a batch of strawberry vanilla jam, which ended up as strawberry vanilla sauce. I'm cool with that. I'd much rather have a jam that doesn't set versus a jam that is like eating glue, if you can scrape it out of the jar. (I've had a few batches like that, so I tend to err on the side of a looser jam). I also tried this jam recipe from Food in Jars.
This is like a grown-up version of strawberry jam, one that would play well with savory foods. It only makes a small batch, so I used mostly 1/4 pint jars for mine. And this one turned out with a perfect consistency.
Strawberry Balsamic Jam
1 1/2 pounds strawberries (about 4 cups chopped berries)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 3 half pint jars. Chop
the strawberries. Place them in a non-reactive 12 inch skillet, and add
the sugar. Stir to combine, and let the berries sit until the sugar looks
damp the fruit has started to weep liquid. Place the pan over high heat, and bring to a boil. Cook,
stirring regularly, until the berries soften and the liquid bubbles and
thickens. It should take between 15 and 20 minutes of cooking.
Towards the end of cooking, stir in the balsamic vinegar. The jam is done when you can pull a spatula through it, and it doesn't rush as quickly to fill the space. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the black pepper.
the finished jam into the prepared jars leaving a half-inch head space. Wipe the rims, apply the lids
and rings, and process them in a boiling water bath canner for 10
minutes. When the time is up, remove the jars from the canner, and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. Makes 1 1/2 pints.