This year I made some wonderful strawberry jams using new recipes (for me). I found some new great blogs about canning and one of them is called Saving the Season written by Kevin West whom I've come to admire as a writer and blogger and whose recipes are absolutely delicious.
I made two of Kevin's recipes for strawberry jam. One was a regular no-pectin and low sugar recipe that was so wonderful I don't even have the words to describe it. I am doing my best to hoard each precious pint and half-pint that I canned and not give them away to (only) well-deserving friends. I've not been very successful because I want to hear people say "Oh, mmmmm, oh, wow, oh, mmmmmm" and so on......
The second recipe is for balsamic vinegar and black pepper strawberry preserves. It just sounded so different and delicious that I had to give that a try. The black pepper is only hinted at when you taste it and the vinegar provides almost a more adult flavor. I wouldn't pour this on my Kefir for breakfast, but I would eat it with some good cheese, crackers and I might even bake with it. Here are the recipes and links to Kevin's webspace:
Basic Strawberry Jam
Strawberry Preserves with Balsamic Vinegar and Black Pepper
I started out with 2 and a half gallons of strawberries from my local farmer at the Bush n'Vine farm just about 2 miles from where I live. That bucket of blueberries sneaked into my photo, but they got dumped into the freezer for now while I ponder what to make with them (other than these for sure, my favorite!)
Then we move on to the sugar. It's the season for the gigantic bags of sugar again. Kane is making sure it stays put and doesn't get carried away by cats or something.
The only other thing you need are a couple of lemons, and then balsamic vinegar and black pepper for the second recipe.
Kevin does not believe in pectin. And neither do I now....at least not for strawberries. I don't mind it being a little runny, just one less thing I have to clutter up the berries with. :-)
The recipes were both very easy to follow - keep in mind that the second recipe calls for soaking overnight though. I made mine in batches so that I wouldn't mess up the recipe by doubling anything. All in all I had 4 batches of each type of jam/preserve. Can you imagine how great our house smelled???!!
So if your local farmer or farmer's market still has fresh strawberries - go out and get them and make this recipe. I promise you won't be sorry. I'm not sorry. I'm only slightly miffed that I didn't buy like 10 gallons and make more. But then, I'd still be chopping strawberries right now....
So - have you canned anything yet this season?