Strawberry-Vanilla Bean Jam

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The first time I went strawberry picking on the North Fork in Long Island, I went to a friend’s house to make jam with her family. We made simple, perfect strawberry jam. I have made this jam for years. (so unlike me!) So, this year I looked around to try something new, initially to try a pectin-free jam. While perusing recipes, I found this one from a cookbook called Food in Jars, via First Look, Then Cook. It had me at vanilla bean. 🙂 The strawberries macerate in sugar and vanilla beans for a minimum of 2-3 hours and up to a maximum of 72 hours (of course I had to do 72 hours to maximize the vanilla flavor). The result was pretty fabulous! Next year I will have to pick even more strawberries to make this and another new kind of jam! SO GOOD!

Makes 8 8-ounce jars IMG_4000

  • 12 cups of ripe, chopped strawberries
  • 2-3 vanilla beans, split and scraped (I used 2)
  • 6 cups of sugar, divided
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 4 tablespoons powdered pectin (I use Sure-Jell)
  1. Wash and prepare/sterilize jars and lids. (To be safe, I prepare 9 jars.)
  2. Wash and chop berries. Toss them with 1 cup of sugar and the vanilla beans/seeds and place in a large jar or bowl.  Allow the berries to macerate for at least 2-3 hours and up to 72 hours. IMG_3906
  3. When you’re ready to make the jam, prepare jars (this recipe makes 5 pints).  Pour macerated strawberries into a large, non-reactive pot and add the remaining cups of sugar, lemon juice and zest and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil (this jam will foam madly, beware).  Cook jam over high heat, stirring regularly for 20-25 minutes, until it takes on a thick, syrupy consistency.
  4. Remove the vanilla beans. Add the pectin and bring to a rolling boil.  Let the jam boil vigorously for an additional three to four minutes.
  5. Remove jam from the stove, and ladle into your prepared jars. (I use a canning funnel and the mess is minimal.)
  6. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings. Process in your canner for 10 minutes (You should start your timer until the water has returned to a boil- however, as long as your water is quite hot when the jars go into the canner, the time it will take to return to boiling should be minimal.) (To cheat, the jars filled with hot jam can be inverted after the lids have been placed. After 5 minutes, place them right side up. The jars are sealed when the center button in the lid pops.)
  7. When time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool on a towel-lined counter top.
  8. When jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and check seals.  If any jars are not sealed, store them in the fridge and use them first.  Store sealed jars in a cool, dark place. IMG_3945

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