Homemade Strawberry-Vanilla Jam - 405 Magazine

Homemade Strawberry-Vanilla Jam

For a sweet, sensational summer treat to enjoy year-round, try this simple recipe to make exquisite strawberry-vanilla jam.

Ever Wondered How to Enjoy The Sweet, Summery Taste of Strawberry Season All Year Long? Well, it is easier than you may think. Make jam!

I know this sounds like a daunting task, but canning is actually quite simple. The best way is to learn with the simplest fruits that render the most delectable taste. I promise, once you make some you will be hooked for
the rest of your life.

To can is really pretty easy. Remember, settlers did this with no fancy contraptions. Just a jar, a lid and boiling water. They fed their families all winter long by canning – so this is going to be no problem for you!

Here’s my recipe for the easiest yet most delicious jam ever. The best part is that you can share the bounty with friends and family or give as hostess gifts. The jam will last up to a year, so make sure to date your jars. However, this is such a favorite at my house it barely lasts six months.

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Easy Strawberry Vanilla Bean Jam

¼ c fresh lemon juice

1 vanilla bean, split in half with seeds removed (keep seeds)

1 pkg. (7.5 oz) Sure Jell Pectin

½ t unsalted butter

7 c sugar

Bring a large stock pot filled with water to a boil. While the water is heating, place a six to eight quart saucepan on the stove over medium heat. Add mashed strawberries, lemon juice, vanilla bean seeds, pectin powder and butter. Toss in the vanilla bean pods as well. Bring to a rolling boil – it should be bubbling all over like a pink cauldron of yum.

Now, stir in the sugar and bring the mixture to a rolling boil again, stirring every so often with a wooden spoon. Allow the jam mixture to boil rapidly for at least two minutes. Once it has boiled, remove from the heat. Use a large spoon to skim off any excess foam.

Time to can! Use caution when pouring the jam into your sterilized jars. Pour the jam into the jar, leaving a half inch of room at the top. Now, here is my Grandma’s trick: Take a sharp knife and run it between the jar and the jam. Then stick the knife in the middle. This helps remove any air pockets from your jam. Wipe the top of the jar edge with a clean, slightly damp dishcloth. Place a lid and ring on each, twisting on but not trying to break a tightening record. Place the jars in the boiling pot of water so that the tops are completely covered, then replace the lid on top of the pot.

It’s time to process. Allow the water to violently boil (I like to call it bossy boiling) for 11-14 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the jars to just hang out in the water for five more minutes. Carefully remove the jars from the boiling water using jar tongs and set on your counter to finish sealing. You will hear “popping” sounds for a while. That means the jars are sealing properly. This will take up to 24 hours. Do not disturb the jam. Just leave your jam to rest and do its magic.

The next day, make sure your jars are sealed properly. Press on the jar lid. There should be no “give” to the lids. Tighten your seals now. If you have some that did not seal properly, well, those are yours to enjoy now! They are not shelf-stable, so just place them in your fridge and have the best piece of toast in your life!

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Tips For Successful Canning:

► Cleanliness is key. Use fresh dishtowels, clean tongs, wooden spoons, etc.

► Prior to using, boil all of the rings and lids for at least 10 minutes. Dry completely.

► Use good canning jars that have been run through a hot dishwasher in a load
     by themselves.

► Invest in jar tongs (to lift out the hot jars from the water bath).

► Use a large stock pot that will hold the jars and lids.

For more canning tips, recipes and even printable labels visit carynross.com