In one of my preserving cookbooks, there is a recipe for strawberry jam that you make in stages to keep its bright colour and flavour that normally would be lost with a longer cooking time.
Sig’s mom told me her mother used to make it and let it sit outside and they called it Sunshine Jam. I love the name Sunshine Jam but it wasn’t sunny out and I couldn’t be bothered to take it outside for the heck of it. Maybe in the future, when I am living off the grid and am a complete hippy lady, I will do this. I can always dream!
This might be the easiest small batch of jam I have ever made. I made (2) one cup jars and (1) ½ cup jar of jam. The little bit that was left over I put in the refrigerator and stuck the vanilla bean pods back in it. Added bonus: my kitchen smelled heavenly! There is no pectin added so it has a looser set, which I personally like for spooning over toast, ice cream and pancakes. We recently had it with scones and dollops of thickened cream at our Mad Tea Party. -Steph McVox
Old Fashioned Strawberry Jam (with the not so old fashioned addition of vanilla beans)
Adapted from The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving
Makes about 2½ – 2 ¾ cups
4 cups of chopped ripe strawberries
2 cups sugar
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
¼ cup lemon juice
1. Toss strawberries with sugar, cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and leave for 24 hours on the counter. (I have heard you can leave it anywhere from 2 – 72 hours) I left it for 24 hours.
2. Place strawberry/sugar mixture in a large saucepan along with vanilla beans, the scraped vanilla bean pods and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat and let sit for 8 more hours.
3. After 8 hours, place mixture back on stove, bring to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring so it doesn’t burn. Remove vanilla pods.
4. Ladle jam into clean, hot jars leaving ¼ inch head room. Wipe the rims, apply lids and screw rings on until just fingertip tight. Process in a canner or stock pot for 15 minutes (Calgary altitude) Remove jars and let them cool on a towel-lined counter top. Wait to hear the little “pops” that tell you that your jam is sealed and all the air is released. If it hasn’t sealed, eat it on some fresh sourdough bread (or refrigerate).