One last recipe for the last days of strawberry season here in the Northeast. This strawberry, white balsamic vinegar and black pepper jam has a fantastic flavor profile; almost savory, with the balsamic vinegar kick, yet sweet enough to enjoy on a muffin or scone. Lovely flecks of crushed black pepper give it added zing and visual appeal. The set was very loose, almost a thick sauce more than a jam, likely due to my overly ripe strawberries and limited sugar. But even so, this will be fantastic with chicken or turkey or on top of a sharp cheese scone. Definitely a keeper.
Adapted from the basic jam instructions on the package insert of Ball No Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin.
Red, White & Black: Strawberry Jam with White Balsamic & Black Pepper
- 4 lbs (about 12 cups) washed, hulled, strawberries (Mine were very ripe; include some underripe berries to boost the pectin and help the set.)
- 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice (or unsweetened apple, grape, or raspberry juice)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 or 2, 1.75-oz packages Ball No Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin (see Options)
- 1/2 tsp olive oil (optional)
- 1 cup sugar (organic evaporated cane juice)
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (I used white balsamic, but regular would work just as well)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Prepare canner, jars & lids.
- Using a potato masher, crush berries, one layer at a time, in a large stockpot (use your largest pot as this foams up to 3 or 4 times its volume). Add lemon and cranberry juice. Gradually stir in desired amount of pectin. Add olive oil (or butter or margarine) if desired to reduce foaming. Bring to a fulling rolling boil, that cannot be stirred down, while stirring constantly over high heat.
- Add sugar, stirring while adding, and bring back to a full, rolling boil while stirring constantly.
- Boil hard, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, pepper and salt. Return to a boil and boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and skim foam if necessary. Fill hot, sterilized jars to 1/4-inch headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Yields about 7 cups.
- I used one package of pectin and the resulting jam has a very soft set, more of a thick sauce than a jam. Two packages of pectin, additional sugar, apple juice, or less ripe berries would all improve the set.
- With “no sugar” pectin, you don’t need to add any sugar at all; I added it to improve the set of the jam, and also to counteract the tartness of the vinegar. I think honey would be a nice addition, flavor-wise, but it does not affect the set and mouthfeel as much as sugar. If you prefer to add no sweetener at all, I would increase the pectin to two full packages.
- I used white balsamic vinegar to preserve the beautiful color of the strawberries; in this way you can also see little flecks of ground black pepper, mixing with the strawberry seeds. Regular, dark balsamic vinegar will taste just as good, it will simply be a darker, more maroon, color jam.
Store jars in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening.