Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Strawberry Balsamic Spread
When I see that the grocery store is running a special on strawberries...which they have been the last couple weeks, I buy 4 or 6 quarts and make this spread. You could call it a jam or call it a syrup it all depends on how long you cook it. The shorter the cooking the more syrupy it is. I generally end up with a somewhat loose jam so I call it a spread. Here's my (also loose) recipe.
Strawberry Balsamic Spread
Homegrown spray free strawberries would be best, but if you buy the berries in and end up with nonorganic I would give them a good soak in a cool water bath (think a big mixing bowl) with 2 tablespoons or so of applecider vinegar.
Hull your berries. Cut them in half if they're small, in quarters if they're large, and put them in a large deep pot (if your pot is too little you will regret it(!) as syrup will splatter all over your stovetop during the boiling period). I generally use 4 to 6 quarts of berries at a time, but really the more the merrier.
Add the sugar. You'll think I'm wacky, but I don't generally measure the sugar I just give a glug from my sugar crock and then give a taste once it's all dissolved. The recipe on which this recipe was based called for 5 cups of sugar for 8 cups of berries (which seems to me like way too much sugar). Other recipes I've seen call for 1 cup of sugar for every 2 cups of berries, which seems better.
Stir the sugar in until it's fully dissolved and bring to a boil. Then add a pat of butter to keep the foam down. Turn the heat down to medium low, and then as time passes to low. Continue to boil until you reach the desired consistency. Generally I boil about an hour for jam. You want to be sure to give a good stir every once in a while to prevent sticking. I tend to stir every 5 minutes or so. Once you are pleased with the consistency add the balsamic vinegar. For my 4-6 quarts of berries I add 5 tablespoons. Stir the balsamic in and you are ready to fill your jars.
While the jam is boiling down you should be preparing your clean jars, and lids in hot water. Now's the time to fill them 1/2 inch from the top and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Syrup can be processed the exact same way. Alternatively you could easily freeze this jam, but my freezer is plum out of room.
This jam is so, so good! Great on toast, with scones, with fresh ricotta, a nice bloomy rind cheese, or a somewhat stinky bleu. Some are on their way out today as thank you gifts to some special lovelies.
My recipe is adapted from the Strawberry Balsamic Jam recipe in Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone. Another great recipe is at Savory Sweet Life.
Ok then, jam it up!