Strawberry Preserves with a Touch of Vanilla
It's strawberry season. As a child, my mom would take us to pick strawberries at a neighboring farm. As we picked, we shoved them in our mouths by the handful, delighted by their sweet juicy flesh and all the while filling our buckets to the brim, eager for all the treats that followed, including strawberry jam.
Spiked with a touch of vanilla bean, this jam is perfect on toast. It makes divine peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and it even fills the centers of peanut butter cookies at our house. I make it even before my husband's strawberry-rhubarb pie (but, shhh, don't tell him that). What are your favorite things to do with strawberries during the summer?
Vanilla Strawberry Jam
5 cups diced strawberries
½ cup turbinado sugar
1 lemon, juiced
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 packet pectin
Start a canning pot ¾ full of water over high heat to bring to a boil. In a small saucepan, combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla bean seeds. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, 15 minutes. Continue to cook, bringing to a boil. Stir in the pectin. Skim the foam from the top of the pan. Continue cooking, stirring frequently for 10 minutes until desired consistency is reached. The longer you cook the sauce, the more the strawberries will break down. The jam should start to look shiny.
Lay out clean canning jars. Place lids in pan of hot water. Fill the jars, leaving 1/4 inch at the top. Wipe the rims with the edge of a hot wet towel. Top with lids and rings. Place all the jars on the rack or folded towel in the bottom of your canning pot. Lower them into the boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes.
Remove the jars from the water and place on a towel. Listen to make sure they make a ping or popping sound, indicating they are sealed. Any unsealed jars can be stored in the refrigerator.
Makes approximately 5 pint jars.