A Blogger’s Relaxing Day Leads To A Jam-Filled One For Me

You may recall, two weeks ago my mascarpone post contained three recipes, one of which paired strawberries with balsamic vinegar. What some of you may not know is that the day before, my blogging buddy, Sarah, whose blog Sarah’s Place, is one worth checking out, had a “relaxing” day that included starting and making a great deal of progress on a knitting project; preparing strawberry balsamic and black pepper jam from a recipe that she found on another worthwhile blog, Sydney’s Kitchen; and baking a rosemary-herbed focaccia studded with cherries. Did you notice the part about the jam? It sure did catch my eye, particularly arriving when it did, just before my own post featuring those same flavors. Suddenly, I was thinking about making jam.

Well, coincidentally, that Friday, a 2nd blogging friend, Michael, whose blog Oishi is another that I enjoy, posted a salad recipe featuring — you guessed it — strawberries with balsamic … and this time bleu cheese, too. It was then that I decided to make jam and, as I wrote to Michael, I would buy enough berries to make his salad, too. The very next morning at the Evanston farmers market, once Max had his much-anticipated rendezvous with Debra, the crossing guard, I found myself standing before 3 long tables covered with quarts of Michigan strawberries, over which hung a giant sign, “Last Chance.” Whatever doubts I may have had were quickly vanquished. I bought 3 quarts and moved on to the Egg Ladies’ stall.

Once home, I began to have second thoughts. No, not about making the jam; that and the salad were “done deals.” It was the timing. The forecast was for another day with a high well into the 90’s, hardly jam-making weather. So, remembering a link I found on Pinterest, I soaked my berries in a 10% vinegar solution for 10 minutes, to prevent mold, and refrigerated the red beauties. One would think that this would be where this tale ends. Yes, one would think …

Crostini of Goat Cheese with Strawberry Balsamic & Black Pepper Jam

You see, the original recipe would make only 1 jar of jam and it wasn’t processed, meaning it had to be refrigerated and used within 3 to 4 weeks. Well, I need to make enough jam to give jars to an entire team of tasters, as well as my Zia, and this recipe just wouldn’t do. So, I went looking for a canning recipe that remained true to the original, while making enough for each of my devoted tasters. Luckily, I found two. The first recipe, from Canadian Living Magazine, gave me canning instructions but the amount of balsamic required was quite a bit less than the amount used in the original. Not being an experienced canner, I didn’t know whether increasing the amount of balsamic would ruin the “set” of my jam. I had no choice, therefore, but to look for another recipe — and I and found one on Epicurious.com. With a balsamic amount proportional to that used in the original, a couple of commenters stated that they canned it without any problem. Eureka! Now armed with this new-found knowledge, I braved the heat and set pots of water to boil, as I cleaned and hulled my strawberries. So, to be fair, I’ll credit Sarah’s Place, Sydney’s Kitchen, Epicurious.com, and Canada for the inspiration for today’s recipe.

 *     *     *

Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar and Black Pepper Jam Recipe 

yield: approx 8 cups

Ingredients

  • 6 cups fresh strawberries, cleaned, hulled, quartered (approx. 2 quarts, whole)
  • 4½ cups sugar – separated
  • 1 envelope (49 g) low-sugar pectin
  • 1 tsp butter (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper

Directions

To Prepare

  1. Sterilize the jars and wash the jar lids and rings in hot, soapy water. Place lids and rings in a deep bowl and pour near-boiling water over them.
  2. Start bringing to boil a large, deep canning kettle of water to be used for the canning process and a second, smaller pot of water to be used to replenish water that may boil away during the canning process.
  3. Mix the pectin with ¼ cup of the sugar. Set aside.
  4. Working in batches, add sliced berries into a large bowl and use a potato masher to smash them. Continue until all are equally smooshed.

To Make the Jam

Thanks, Sarah!

  1. Place the strawberries and the pectin-sugar mixture into a heavy-bottomed pot over a med-high heat. A Dutch oven works nicely. Add butter, if desired, to limit foam.
  2. Stirring frequently, you are heating the berries until a rolling boil is achieved at about 220˚F. A rolling boil is one that will not dissipate when the pot’s contents are stirred.
  3. Add the remaining sugar and stir well. Stir frequently while you wait for the pot to return to a roiling boil.
  4. Once a rolling boil has returned, keep stirring for exactly one minute before removing the pot from the heat.
  5. With a large spoon, carefully skim the surface to remove any foam.
  6. Add balsamic vinegar and pepper. Stir well to thoroughly combine.

To Can

  1. Using a funnel and large ladle, fill each jar to ¼ inch from the rim. Wipe the rim to make sure no jam has spilt, place a lid on each jar, and then the ring, tightening until “finger tight” but not as tight as you can make it. Act quickly, filling and capping all the jars.
  2. Jars placed directly on the kettle’s bottom might burst, so, a rack of some sort must be put into the canning kettle to cover the bottom. Many large pots have one, as do many pressure cookers. (I use a rack from an old pot that has long since been discarded.)
  3. Keep each jar level as you place them, one by one, into the canning kettle filled with now boiling water. The jars should not touch each other, nor should they be allowed to tip over. Depending upon the size of the kettle and number of jars, you may need to work in batches.
  4. Once the jars are in the kettle, make sure that there is at least one inch of water over the top of the tallest jar(s). If not, add boiling water from the smaller pot mentioned in Step 2 of  To Prepare.
  5. Cover the pot and begin timing when the water returns to the boil. The jars must be boiled, “processed”, for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, place a baking sheet on a level surface and line it with a clean kitchen towel.
  7. Once 10 minutes have passed, carefully remove each jar and place it on to the towel-lined baking sheet. Leave about an inch separating the jars.
  8. Once all the jars have been processed and placed on the baking sheet, remove the baking sheet & jars to a place that is draft-free and where they will remain undisturbed for 24 hours.
  9. After 24 hours have passed, check each jar to insure it’s sealed and then store on a shelf in a cool, dark place, where it will stay fresh for months.

Notes

According to several commenters on the Epicurious website, once canned, it is best to let the jam sit for a week before sampling it. The flavors blend and the pepper becomes more pronounced.

Once opened, the jam should be refrigerated and fully used within a month.

One last thing

I did make Michael’s salad and it was every bit as good as I had hoped.

*     *     *

By any other name … 

“Elizabeth Taylor”

*     *     *

Advertisements

108 thoughts on “A Blogger’s Relaxing Day Leads To A Jam-Filled One For Me

  1. You really were truly inspired! What a lovely jam and just that bit different from regular strawberry with the pepper and vinegar. Love the jar too. Now, you have to tell me, where are all these beautiful roses planted? Do you have an amazing garden yourself, or is it in a park? They really are so lovely and I love the Hollywood theme!

    Like

    • Thank you. Those strawberries were incredible. They’re about a third the size of those found in our groceries but at least double the flavor. It’s a shame their season is so short.

      Like

      • I grow a Japanese strawberry which looks similar to the ones in your picture. I’ve found they grow well in the flower garden with the camellia’s and daphne. I have used them as a border, with the added bonus of lots of lovely fruit.
        Iv’e sent Michael a recipe for fruit vinegar if you happen to see more at the markets some time.
        Elaine.

        Like

        • Using strawberry plants as a border? That must be something to see. The plants do have nice foliage but I bet it is a shock for others to look and see the berries.
          Where my family lives in Michigan, there are wild strawberries about the size of a small pea growing in many of the fields. They are the sweetest, most flavorful berry I’ve ever tasted. We kids would go picking them for our breakfast cereal and none ever made it back to our home. We ate them all as soon as we picked them. 🙂
          If I can find some berries, I’ll definitely ask Michael for your recipe. Thank you so much, Elaine.

          Like

  2. Strawberry jam is one jam I’ve never made, probably because they’re all eaten before I have a chance of putting the pot on the flame! An interesting twist on taste, but I’d give it a go! Liz looks just beautiful it would have to be perfumed? Yx

    Like

    • Thanks, Yvette. If you’re uncertain about this jam, try the original recipe. It only uses 2 cups of strawberries and there’s no canning. You can save yourself a great deal of effort and, if you like it, make a larger batch for canning.
      Liz does have a fragrance but not a particularly strong one. “Opening Night”, the red rose of a couple weeks ago, is highly perfumed. That one is the stereotypical long-stemmed, red rose.

      Like

  3. You certainly have done your research. I love strawberry jam but I have never had it with balsamic vinegar and black pepper. I’m so intrigued as to how this would taste after the canning. When it’s strawberry season I will have to try this xx

    Like

    • Thanks, Charlie! As I just wrote to Yvette, try the original, non-canned recipe, to see if it suits you and save yourself the effort of canning. As it is, I’m looking into using this jam as a glaze, possibly with pork. When I was in Sydney, I was served kangaroo medallions in a strawberry and black pepper sauce. I’ve never forgotten that dish and though kangaroo meat is quite rare around here, I thought pork might work. We’ll see. 🙂

      Like

        • American pork has undergone a transformation, beginning about 30 years ago, and is much leaner now than ever. Yes, it is leaner — and far less flavorful. I still don’t think, though, it is as lean as kangaroo. I do think you’re right and veal would be a better substitute. I need to do a little googling. 🙂
          Thanks for the advice!

          Like

  4. Celi from thekitchensgarden led me to you, your beautiful roses hooked me, and adult strawberry jam, well… one of the few things I cannot eat is generic strawberry jam. I now know what I need to do once summer comes to the southern hemisphere 🙂

    Like

    • Welcome, EllaDee! Isn’t the Kitchens Garden an incredible blog and that Celi is simply a marvel! As I’ve mentioned, before you commit to canning 8 cups, try the original, non-canned, version to see if it is to your liking. Either you’ll save yourself some work or you’ll have another jar of jam to enjoy. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

      Like

  5. And again, I learn something new from you John, thank you; the jam sounds amazing, but preserving the berries so they don’t mold is genius! How many times I’ve had to toss moldy berries!
    I wish I had time to make this jam, I know my friend Barb at Profiteroles and Ponytails would love it. Isn’t epicurious great? I adore the comments, you can really gauge weather you’ll like the recipe without having to try it first. Thanks for the shutout to Canada! We’re celebrating Canada Day on July 1st, woohoo!

    Like

    • Thank you, Eva, for always being so complimentary. Always! That vinegar bath is going to be my saviour. I hesitate to buy fresh berries because if I don’t use them on Day One, they’re spoilt. Well, not anymore!
      And Epicurious has helped me out more times than I can remember. You’re right. The comments are a great source of information.
      And have a great holiday weekend. Oh, Canada!

      Like

  6. Would love to have a bowl of those luscious strawberries right now. Congrats on a successful jam making session. I am sure all the recipients will appreciate and love it.
    You must have quite a rose garden and spend many hours tending to your girls. They reward your loving care wilh gorgeous blooms. How about a photo of the rose garden.

    Like

    • Those berries were very good, Norma, unlike the behemoths that fill the grocery stores. I do love my roses but, this year, I’m having some difficulties. On Monday, I was at “my” garden center talking to the rose “specialist” about them. I think March’s heat wave had an impact. Normally, I’ve got roses in bloom all Summer. This year, there was a massive blooming early and now very little. Some look like its September rather than June. I still have blooms to share from earlier and we’ll see how the rest of the season goes.

      Like

    • Thanks, Teri. I really don’t have a “rose garden”, per se. I have one bed, about 30 feet long, where “my girls” all are. It is on one side of the dog run’s fence. I’ve another bed, with 2 roses, in front of the garage and still another bed, with 3 roses, along the fence on the remaining side of my yard. Even if all were doing very well, it is almost impossible to take a “group picture” that is at all discernable. I’ve even tried doing it from above – the back stairwell – but to no avail. 😦

      Like

  7. Good morning John! Thanks for the shout out from your jamboree/jam session and for trying out my strawberry salad. I’ve never canned, but I’m glad I can check out your post in the future when I do. That sounds like an innovative flavor you have going there, and you have the right idea serving it over toast points. Yummy!
    – Michael

    Like

    • Good morning to you, Michael! That salad was wonderful! I only started canning last year. It isn’t as daunting as I had feared and now I’ve got all the jam and preserves I could ever want! Still, you needn’t can this jam if you don’t want to. The original recipe does not include canning. Give it a shot. 🙂

      Like

  8. I have a new favorite post of yours now 🙂 I think Hubby and I are going to have to start writing you checks every month for doing all of the legwork behind the things we want to try. I desperately wanted to can some of this jam too. I have one last chance at strawberries today, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Thank you SO much John! We both appreciate this. I’ve never tried canning, but have wanted to for quite some time so I’m gonna go for it with your instructions. 🙂

    I am crazy about your pictures! The rose is just stunning!

    Like

    • No, thank you, Sarah! I love this recipe!
      I started canning only last year and it is easier than I had feared. A great source for information — besides me, of course 🙂 — is http://www.pickyourown.org. They have tips on everything from where to pick your own fruit, to how to can just about anything, to where and what equipment to buy. It’s a great resource. And I’m right here if you need me! 🙂
      Yes, Liz is a real stunner, just as she was in life.

      Like

  9. I’m so curious to know how it tastes John! I don’t often make jams or marmalade as I’m the only one who eats them, and not that very often either. But this recipe sounds so, well glamerous is a word that springs to mind! A bit like Ms Taylor who is looking stunning 🙂

    Like

    • You will notice a difference in taste but not necessarily know why, unless you’re told. You will really notice the difference if you taste them side by side, though. As it is, the balsamic evens out the sweetness and the pepper comes through at the end. I like it! And yes, Liz is a real beauty!

      Like

  10. I so enjoy reading your blog. I ALWAYS learn something new. I didn’t know you could soak strawberries in vinegar to prevent mold. Plus I see you have beautiful flowers in your garden. Looking forward to your next post.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

    Like

    • Thank you, Francine. When I saw that link using a 10% vinegar bath for berries, I knew I had to tell everyone. I’m sure I’m not the only person to throw away berries because of mold. This will help us all out!

      Like

  11. Your jam looks divine! Believe it or not, I’ve never made jam, which is shocking, me being a farm-raised 4-H Homemaker and all. The combo of strawberry, balsamic and pePper is pretty tempting though! Since you thanked Canada in your post, I hope it’s not too presumptuous of me to say ‘You’re welcome!”. Not on behalf of all of Canada, mind you, but the Central region at least. I’m sure Smidge will have the western part of the country covered, and other followers will speak up on behalf of Quebec, the eastern provinces and our vast North. !

    Like

    • Thanks, Mar. I knew my Canadian BBFs (Blogging Buddies Forever) would appreciate the shout-out.
      As I mentioned in earlier comments, I only started canning last Summer. It’s nowhere as difficult as I had imagined. Just try to do it when it is less than 35˚C. It was murder that Saturday in my kitchen! Even Max, who is normally right next to me, hoping to snag some morsel while I’m cooking, fled the kitchen. Next time, I’ll do it at 2:00 AM before I try that again.

      Like

  12. I know what time it is at o-dark-thirty, waking before the birds, when I check my cell phone. This morning it was 3:30. But it was Wednesday, and that meant a post from John! Bleary-eyed, no contacts in yet, I’m reading this post on what sounds to me (even before coffee, even before a bite of toast) like a heavenly jam!! I cannot wait to try this John! The strawberries in our beds are just a little behind yours so I’ll coax them along and hope for sun to help! Thank you! Straight to my bulletin board!

    Like

    • Well, top o’ the morning to you, Spree! As I just wrote, this jam has a peppery finish, one that I really enjoy, while the balsamic seems to temper the sweetness a bit. Again, just how I like it. I’m a big fan now! I hope you, too, like it.

      Like

  13. Being a Cali boy it’s sometime hard for me to imagine dealing with a sign that say last chance for anything…I grew up with it all mostly year around. Though I do adapt to anywhere I’m living so I would probably have the same reaction…buy em all!

    Also thanks for sharing the tip on perserving the strawberries in 10% vinegar solution, as I’ll be needing that here in WY.

    Like

    • Cali folks are so spoiled! Seeing the season’s first strawberries at a farmers market is one of the joys of spring around here. It makes you appreciate them that much more. But yeah. If you want me to buy something at your stall, post a “Last Chance” sign and I’ll be stocking up on whatever it is. That’s a sure bet if ever there was one! 🙂
      The 10% vinegar thing was a revelation to me, too, and I couldn’t wait to broadcast it.

      Like

  14. In Emilia Romagna (where balsamic vinegar comes from), emiliani and romagnoli do not use balsamic vinegar to season salads. Instead, one of their favorite pairings for balsamic vinegar are strawberries!!! Therefore your preserve is a great idea of combining these two ingredients. Bravo!!

    Like

  15. Holy cow! I can’t believe you were making jam in that heat. I’m quite impressed with your dedication to this recipe though. Canning intimidates me more than cakes. My grandma cans all the time. Her peach preserves were so darn good. But I’m really digging this strawberry and balsamic jam. I know Miss A would too. Strawberries, balsamic and buffalo mozz has been her lunch of choice lately. 😉

    Like

    • Believe me, Kristy, at one point while I was stirring the jam, with 2 pots of water boiling atop the stove, I wondered what the heck was I doing. I’ll make this jam again but it will be under 90˚, to be sure. And Miss A’s lunch sounds perfect! What a great combo and quite the sophisticated palate!

      Like

  16. My only problem with this post is that now that I’ve read it, I’m dying to make this strawberry jam with balsamic and black pepper…and I can’t get the berries anymore! 😦 Next year perhaps, but meanwhile I’m wondering how this might work with peaches…they are really good with balsamic and pepper, too, and add a little blue cheese to that on some bruschetta, hmmm…but I digress. That looks just like Elizabeth Taylor…another show stopper, both the post and the rose! 🙂

    Like

    • I hadn’t thought about it but, yeah, I think peaches would work just fine. I wonder whether you’d need to change the amount of balsamic, though. Hmm … Something o think about.
      Thanks for leaving such a great comment, Betsy. And yes, that rose and Liz were a perfect match. 🙂

      Like

        • I like the sound of the peach & basil combo, Elaine. The basil would give the preserves a completely unexpected flavor, similar to the peppery finish with this jam. Thanks for the tip about verjuice. I’d not heard of it before so I did a little research. It has so many uses and I’m going to look for it when I go to a couple of the specialty shops.

          Like

  17. Elizabeth Taylor is just stunning. You definitely have a knack with roses, John. Your rose blooms are perfection. As is the post. I am sending it on to a friend who cans and jams a lot. Her peaches and amaretto are something you might like. One year I made a four fruit jam with gooseberries and currants and sour cherries and raspberries. The sour cherries were available one week and then they were gone. I would like to take some time and really become good at making jam. I didn’t know the addition of butter reduced the foam scum. Good tip about the soaking in the vinegar solution, too.
    Thanks for always taking time to check out my blogs and write interesting comments. I liked thinking about your errand running with your Dad and eating the bread and butter at the bakery.

    Like

    • Thanks, Ruth, for being such a staunch supporter. Yes, my Liz is a real beauty. My roses, though, are having some problems this year and this heat isn’t helping any. Hope springs eternal …
      Your friend’s jam of peaches and amaretto sounds delicious. A couple of my tasters would go nuts for it! I bet your 4 berry jam would appeal to a couple other tasters of mine. Yes, I’ve got a variety of palates to please! The western coast of Michigan is a leading producer of sour cherries and they should be coming to market in the next week or two. One of the stalls at the farmers market has them, frozen, all summer long. I buy up as many fresh as I can, pit them, bake a couple pies, and freeze the rest. I only started making jam and canning last summer and this year I’ll add a batch or two of jam to the list.
      Those Sunday mornings with Dad are some of my most fond memories of him. And freshly baked bread with butter? Keep the Snickers bars. Who needs ’em? 🙂

      Like

  18. I love Sarah’s blog too! And now I have a new friend to go visit as well. Well, it’s a lazy morning here and I’m now dreaming of long summer days where I can learn how to “can”. I’m even imagining them lined up like sparkling jewels in the kitchen windowsill. I’ve never canned a single jar in my life…. lots of frozen jam, but no real canning. I’m not sure why it intimidates me so much. As with your cheese recipes I’m feeling emboldened to try, and this “grown-up jam” would be my place to start. Your blog is so methodical and carefully written with extra hints and tips that I know any attempt would be successful. I need to clear a shelf for all of the canning tools I’d need for starters:) Btw… Your roses… your girls… oh my gosh they are stunning!! I, too, had a rose garden in my last home.. I have to say that’s the one thing I miss the most. I’d love to see yours in all it’s colorful glory. It’s definitely a strange year for roses.. I have two sad “potted” roses at the front that are wilting and lacking in bloom. I have a different “potted” rose on the back deck. It had beautiful massive white blooms but now its leaves are suddenly speckled with holes. Would a fertilizer put the bloom back in your girls cheeks?? I’m cheering your roses on..all the way from Canada, eh! xo Smidge

    Like

    • I spoke with my girls just moments ago, Barb, and sent them your well-wishes. They were a little distracted and didn’t say too much. It’s cocktail hour, after all.
      I’m attacking the rose beds one-by-one, but this heat isn’t helbrownping matters. The first is done and needs to be re-mulched but unless I can get out there really early, it will be too hot for me to work. And I’ve got a new rose food to try, as well as a spray. Again, the heat is making things difficult. I’ll figure it out.
      You really should try making your own preserves, Barb. I didn’t start making my own until last Summer and I am very glad that I did. I now can jellies & jams, corn relish, apple sauce, brown grain mustard, and ketchup. It is a bit daunting the first time your do it but, after that, it’s a breeze. Just pick a cooler day than I did or crank up the a/c. My kitchen was practically unbearable when I canned this jam.
      Have a Happy Canada Day! 🙂

      Like

      • Thank you!! As always I feel “safe” when I have your encouragement! It’s cocktail hour here (well, a little past that, but shhh) as well… Good luck with your flowers.. if anyone can get them to keep blooming, it will be you!! Happy July 4th in advance.. unless you post some rose petal jam or some such exotic dish.. 😀

        Like

  19. I wouldn’t have thought of the balsamic vinegar addition, and yet now that I’ve read the recipe I can already imagine it. Thanks for such wonderfully thorough instructions. I’ve never made anything more than strawberry freezer jam! Oh the learning curve in my kitchen! But we love strawberries and they are so plentiful here. Now I want to spend some time with all your really great links. I am reluctant to open more doors, but at the same time, I can’t seem to resist! 🙂 Your roses are just gorgeous! Another one I really like…and I like the woman it was named after, too! 🙂 Debra

    Like

    • It was pure serendipity seeing Sarah’s post the day before I posted mine featuring strawberries and balsamic. The addition of pepper was, for me, the best part. You can always make a little batch of freezer jam and, if you like it, start up a larger batch and can it. Do wait a week, though, before tasting it. The “peppery” finish really does take a week to develop.
      I didn’t ever think I’d be doing any canning and spent a good part of last year saying I wouldn’t. Once I started, though, I kept on going. Tart cherries season is starting and they’re next on my schedule. Once you start, I bet you’ll be doing the same.
      This Liz is a fitting tribute to Ms. Taylor. She’s one of my favorites — but don’t tell the others. They’re a jealous bunch, my girls. 🙂

      Like

  20. Seems I’m behind on this strawberry jam making train. I’ve never tried making homemade, but have a lot of family friends that do often. I’ll need to give it a go soon. Adding the balsamic and black pepper must add a nice contrast to the sweet strawberries. And then you go and pair it with goat cheese?!? YUM

    Like

    • Caroline, canning is something that I hope you do try and for the most selfish of reasons. Once you get going, you’ll be developing your own flavor combinations that will make this recipe seem tame in comparison. C’mon, Caroline. Do it for the WordPress Community! 🙂

      Like

    • Welcome back! Yes, this was a good pairing and I’ve been back to that well a few times since that picture was taken. Wouldn’t want the rest of that goat cheese to go to waste. 🙂

      Like

  21. John, you are remarkable, all your research and this brilliant, well actually, perfect result! All of a sudden I have this incredible urge for scones and your special jam!
    Have a beautiful weekend.
    🙂 Mandy

    Like

    • Thanks, Mandy. I could be wrong but I think it’s a little too early for strawberries in your part of the world. This is certainly something to try, though, when the berries come into season. I love its peppery finish!
      Enjoy your weekend, too.

      Like

  22. John, this jam looks so good. My grandmother always made her own preserves from the garden. Wonderful. I remember orange marmalade on scones in the morning. Yum. As always your posts are informative and good enough to eat. Susie

    Like

    • Thanks, Susie. Once I saw the recipe, I just had to give it a try, especially with strawberries still in season here. I can only imagine how good your Grandmother’s orange marmalade was. That must have been something!

      Like

        • Although I’ve had orange marmalade, it wasn’t home-made. Living north, Mom stuck to locally grown berries for her jams. She, also, canned enough tomatoes to last a family of 5 all year. I think she was probably just too tuckered out to try another canning recipe. 🙂
          Maybe I should look into this next Winter? Hmm …

          Like

  23. wow, it takes me as long to read all your comments as it does to read the post, i was in yesterday mainly because i wanted to see what rose you had for us today (being that shallow!).. read right through, stole the link and then forgot to comment! I am fascinated by the uses for balsamic. And I love it. I once looked at growing the grapes and making it but it takes SEVEN years before you can take it out of the bottle! i am just not that patient! Lovely jam. i am dying to try it. but you took the last of the strawberries!!! have a warm day! not as bad as yesterday and a chance for a shower..c

    Like

    • I didn’t make it to the market last weekend so I’ve no idea if other farmers had berries. It doesn’t matter. I’ve enough strawberry jam, with and without balsamic, for my needs and my tasters are all happy.
      Yeah, you have to be really dedicated to make something like balsamic vinegar. I guess if you had the space to make and store a batch every year, once you got past the first 7 years, it wouldn’t be so bad. But what if you wanted to make the really aged stuff, like 25 years? That’s not for me and I’m with you. I need a bit more instant gratification.
      I’m off to my Italian market. I need my fix. 🙂 Have a great day!

      Like

  24. Lovely idea John! Over here it seems homemade balsamic strawberry jam is all the rage but no one I know has made it with the inspiring addition of black pepper-must give it a go when the price of strawberries has come down a bit…BTW balsamic on fresh mango is also delicious!

    Like

    • Thank you! To be honest, I thought the balsamic was nice but it was the cracked black pepper that grabbed my attention. I don;t think there’s a jam more suited to my tastes than this one. And thanks for the balsamic-mango tip. I would never have thought of it on my own. 🙂

      Like

  25. Great blending of ideas and flavors, John! This jam has so many possible uses. I can picture it going quite nicely on pork. I am thinking spread on a cheese cake on top might give it an extra zang. But wait what about on top of icecream. Ohh the possibilities. Stay cool and take care, BAM

    Like

    • You’re right, BAM. This jam’s possibilities are seemingly endless — and all of them good! One of the commenters suggested veal, as well. I’m definitely going to give some of them a try.
      A storm is passing through and the temp has dropped about 15˚F. It will bounce back tomorrow but it looks like we’ve a pleasant evening ahead. I hope you get some relief, too, no matter how brief. 🙂

      Like

  26. Oh I’m so jealous! The strawberry jam looks so good! Loving the balsamic touch, what a unique flavour – I would love it for breakfast, tea and dessert (major hint!) 😉

    Like

    • Thanks, Jasline. We need to figure out a way to swap a few dishes. I still want some of that chocolate cake of yours from a couple days ago. As you mentioned, I’ve been “nibbling” on this jam pretty much around the clock. Give me a slice of bread and I’m reaching for a jar. 🙂

      Like

  27. The strawberries in the opening of your post are gorgeous! I’ve never had strawberries with balsamic and pepper, but I’ve heard they’re wonderful. And by the looks of your rich and delicious jam, it obviously is true!

    And what a beautiful and perfect rose. 🙂

    I unsubscribed and then subscribed again to your blog and finally received a post. Hopefully, there won’t be anymore glitches!

    ~ April

    Like

    • I really do like this jam, April, It’s the peppery finish that I really enjoy. Then again, I like just about anything with pepper in it. I’m an easy dinner guest. Just throw some garlic and pepper on the entree and I’ll clean my plate, guaranteed!
      I hope the subscribe/unsubscribe continues to work for you. You don’t really know you’re a “victim” until you’ve missed a couple posts. It’s a hassle and I hope Support gets it fixed soon.
      Yeah, my Liz is a beauty!
      Good to have you back! Thanks for being so complimentary.

      Like

    • So was I! It tastes pretty much as advertised, with the pepper becoming more pronounced as the jam sits. And that’s what I like most.
      Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment.

      Like

  28. I am a HUGE jam fan and I love unique ones like this! You can bet I’ll be making it! The addition of the black pepper was an very interesting twist and not expected. LOVE IT!

    Like

    • Exactly! Nobody expects black pepper (kinda like the Spanish Inquisition). If you do make it, be sure to let the jam sit a week. It has a much more pronounced peppery finish if you do. i hope you enjoy it.
      Thanks for stopping and taking the time to leave a comment.

      Like

    • Thanks, Richard. Strawberry jam is my favorite, as well, and this one offers a nice twist.
      This rose is just one of the bushes in my yard. I started posting a pic of a different rose with each post a few weeks ago. I should be able to keep posting a new one for much of the rest of summer. Stay tuned …

      Like

  29. Hi John, It’s been too long and I’m missing your stories and fabulous recipes! One of these days I guess I’m going to get with the rest of you and start canning because I would so love to taste this! I’ve added balsamic vinegar to my strawberries before and I love the combination of flavors. What also caught my eye, was the rose! Do you have a rose garden?? My father had about 300 rose plants around our home and in the backyard. As a child I could never play ball because the ball might hit a rose bush! I remember the Elizabeth Taylor rose. He would bring in a bouquet of roses to my mother at least twice a week. He also would create his own roses, naming them after my mother. You brought back some warm memories for me; you always seem to do that to me!

    Like

    • Oh, Linda! So good to hear from you. I hope all is going well and that things are beginning to settle a bit for you.
      I started planting roses a number of years ago in a bed that was more like a strip of land bordering my dogs’ run. From there, I created another bed in front of the garage and, lastly, a third bed bordering the remaining side of my yard. I started sharing roses with the Straw and Hay Pasta post on 6/6. That rose, a red hybrid tea, was “Opening Night.” Next came “Helen Hayes” and you just saw “Judy Garland.” Judy is really special. She starts out yellow and as she opens, the outer most leaves start to turn orange. By the time the rose is fully open, it is all a fire-orange. Really striking! As is my Liz. She, too, is a beauty. Although I’ve got 3 more of my girls in the bed, only one will be shared, and that will be later tonight. The other 2 aren’t doing so well, I’m afraid.
      How touching that your Dad brought your Mom flowers like that. I’m sure she loved receiving them and it was a good thing for you to see growing up. Your Dad was teaching you how women should be treated. If only all boys had dads like yours to teach them this lesson.

      Like

      • I could just imagine each rose as it bloomed the way you described it! Your love of roses is so wonderful John and was such a pleasant surprise to find that you grow such beauties. Yes, I saw how my father just adored my mother and she in turn treated him like her prince! It was a special relationship that I would love to have one day!

        Like

  30. Seems like everyone’s been making strawberry jam lately — and who can blame them? Strawberries everywhere! — but I really like your twist on the ordinary. Fresh jam is the best… emphasis on FRESH. 😀

    Like

    • I’ve seen plenty of strawberry jam recipes, too, and have made 2 batches myself. It is my favorite, though, and I like being able to control the sugar in it. The first time I made jam, I couldn’t believe the amount of sugar the recipe required. I’ve used low-sugar recipes ever since.
      Thanks for stoping by and taking the time to comment.

      Like

      • Yeah, a lot of jam recipes (especially low- or no-pectic ones) use a lot of sugar because they’re relying on cooking the water off the fruit to a point where the sugar will start to gel with the cellulose (usually anywhere from 103′ to 107’C) to set the jam. If you go with low-sugar recipes, the jam doesn’t last as long on the shelf, but then really good jam never should sit around for ages!!

        Like

        • I started canning just last Summer but one thing is certain: the jam is always the first thing to go. Everyone loves it. As you say, there’s no chance of it sitting around for ages.

          Like

    • Even when I don’t use them for jam, berries tend to disappear quickly. If you do make this jam, I hope you enjoy it.
      Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment.

      Like

    • Thanks, Courtney. Your DH might enjoy it but I don’t know about your sons. This has a distinctive peppery finish. Does that sound like something either would like?

      Like

  31. Pingback: Fig Preserves with Balsamic Vinegar and Black Pepper | from the Bartolini kitchens

  32. Pingback: Crostata | from the Bartolini kitchens

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s