The use of balsamic vinegar makes this strawberry balsamic jam a cut above the other jams. Use for toast or drizzle in your yogurt, oatmeal or ice cream.
I am super giddy for the beginning of strawberry season. When I find deliciously sweet strawberries at the market, I stock up. And they don’t last long in my house. My kids love fresh fruit, and a bowl full of sweet strawberries is always a welcome dessert.
Every time I find some sweet strawberries, I’m reminded of my strawberry farm tour in Oxnard, CA. I’m so glad summer is around the corner. Summer fruits also mean it’s time to jam! And these fabulous strawberries were begging to be made into a jam.
The best balsamic vinegar
Traveling around and talking about olive oil after publishing my olive oil cookbook has been crazy fun, taking me all over California and beyond. And I met the wonderful folks from Montello Fine Foods on one of these occasions.
It was during a book signing in Sonoma that Mary and I met Lorraine Montello and her son Garrett. Garrett is hard to miss in a crowd. His body is bandaged up and he sits in a wheel chair. Garrett has Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a non-contagious skin condition so rare that it affects only 20 out of every 1 million babies born.
He has the most severe form, Recessive Dystrophic EB, which occurs in a mere 2 out of every 1 million births. It is a genetic disorder caused by the lack of Collagen 7, a protein that acts as a glue to bind the inner and outer layers of skin together. It affects him both internally and externally.
Garrett is also an active in the family business. Montello Fine Foods sells extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salts, olives and more. You will see the family selling at fairs, tasting events and in home tasting parties. Garrett is very business savvy for his 18 years. It’s no wonder he’s the Big Chief at Montello Fine Foods.
After our Sonoma trip, I received some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar to sample. Not only is their olive oil smooth, but I instantly fell in love with their balsamic vinegar. This vinegar is thick like syrup and has a lovely sweetness to it.
My husband and I quickly broke out a baguette and began sopping up the oil and vinegar. Oh yes, this balsamic vinegar would be a perfect addition to my strawberry jam.
How to make strawberry jam with balsamic vinegar
Balsamic vinegar is a natural compliment to fruit. It’s sweet and tangy attributes add something special to desserts. I’ve drizzled balsamic vinegar over ice cream, baked balsamic vinegar in a cherry pie, so why not add balsamic vinegar to strawberry jam?
I come from a family infatuated with jam. It was my Aunt Agnes who taught me how to make jam and shared her secret to making strawberry jam. You start with a bowl full of chopped strawberries and then mix in sugar. Then you let it sit.
Let the strawberries in the sugar at least 4 hours or up to overnight to release the juices and macerate. The maceration process also strengthens the berries’ natural pectin, making one fabuloso jam using the minimum amount of sugar and without pectin.
Once the strawberries were macerated, I added Montello’s balsamic vinegar and cooked them together until thick. Because the vinegar has nice sweet tones, I needed even less sugar for the jam.
Why do you put lemon juice in strawberry jam?
If you make a lot of homemade jam, then you know that adding a little lemon juice is an important component to jam making. But do you know why it is important to add lemon juice to strawberry jam, or any other jam?
It’s chemistry. The acid in the lemon juice is needed to lower the pH in your jam. Pectin comes together and thickens your jam best in a lower pH environment. Although balsamic vinegar is added to this strawberry jam, it doesn’t have a low enough pH to help the pectin thrive. Enter lemon juice.
Lower the pH of your jam is also important to prevent the growth of bacteria. And when you are canning jam, even storing it in the refrigerator for a few weeks or months, you don’t want to make people sick from your homemade gifts. Learn more about why we add lemon juice when making jam here.
- 1 lb strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 TBS red balsamic vinegar
- In a large bowl mix together strawberries, lemon juice and sugar.
- Let strawberry mixture sit for at least 4 hours or up to overnight to macerate and release their juices.
- Transfer berry mixture to a pot and stir in balsamic vinegar.
- Slowly bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring often to prevent sticking.
- Reduce temperature to medium-low if strawberry mixture is about to boil out of your pot. Cook until thickened, about 20 minutes.
- If you are going to store in the refrigerator, cool until room temperature first then refrigerate. Or, if you are canning your jam, click here for hot water canning instructions.
Serving Suggestions: Use on your morning toast or drizzle in your yogurt, oatmeal or ice cream.
Cooking Tips: The quality of balsamic vinegar you use will affect the flavor of your jam. This recipe uses a high quality, thick balsamic vinegar.
Serving Size:1 TBS
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 28Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 0g
If you need a special gift for a special lady on Mother’s Day, this giveaway is for you! You can win a bottle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Montello Fine Foods PLUS an autographed copy of Cooking Techniques and Recipes with Olive Oil. And even if you don’t win, go check out Montello Fine Foods. Montello pledges a portion of their profits to EB research, so you’ll be doing a good deed with every delicious purchase. To enter the giveaway: 1. Leave a comment below telling me how you enjoy your balsamic vinegar. (This is necessary for the contest) Optional ways to gain extra entries: 2. Subscribe to my blog here AND receive my FREE Saffron Ebook. 4. Give Montello Fine Foods a little social media love and follow them in your favorite way: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.
This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Giveaway ends May 1st, 2015.