I paraded them through the market like the Pied Piper, their heady aroma my magic flute, surrounded by throngs of hungry children and parents seeking out samples from my flat.
But, as if often the case with the tenderest and tastiest of berries I had to work fast if I wanted to preserve this perfect burst of summer. And preserve I did. Meet my new canner.
Canning, like baking, is precise. I am by no means an expert canner but I took my chances by also reducing the sugar by one cup. The thing is, before I made the balsamic pepper-laced jam, I made some plain strawberry jam from the same berries using the full seven cups of sugar the original recipe called for. Even my six-year-old deemed it way too sweet. So, throwing caution to the wind, I reduced the sugar here and lo and behold, the jam still set beautifully.
great basic canning info to get you on your way.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Can It!
12 cups strawberries
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1.75-ounce package regular powdered fruit pectin
1/2 tsp butter
6 cups sugar
1 tbsp cracked black pepper
1. Place about 1 cup of berries in a large bowl and crush with a potato masher. Continue to add berries and mash until you have 5 total cups of crushed berries. Place berries in a large heavy pot. Stir in vinegar, pectin, and butter. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar all at once. Return to a boil, and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with a spoon. Stir in cracked pepper.
2. Ladle hot jam into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe any goop off the rims and place the lids and rings.
3. Process the filled jars in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes timing from when the water returns to a full boil. Remove jars from canner and cool on wire racks or a dish towel for 12-24 hours. Makes about 10 half-pints.