Strawberry Vanilla and Strawberry Balsamic Jam

I’ve been (not-so-patiently) waiting two years to make strawberry jam. The year I learned how to can I didn’t start until June or July, well after the last luscious red berries had been plucked. And last year, well, I’ve already lamented about missing strawberry season last year.

Sweet Charley and Chandler Strawberries

This year, we were lucky enough to catch the tail end of the Sweet Charlies and the beginnings of the Chandler strawberry crop; the Charlies are a super sweet, early berry, while the Chandlers are large, gorgeous, flavorful berries, each delicious in their own right. We picked a bucket of each, and didn’t waste any time turning them in to two batches of beautiful ruby red jam.

Strawberry Vanilla Jam

The strawberry vanilla jam might be my favorite. It is a traditional pectin-free jam, and so it’s cooked longer to bring out the natural pectin in the berries. The resulting flavor is sweet and sultry, and almost tastes like strawberry ice cream on it’s own, but when drizzled over ice cream becomes otherworldly. The strawberry balsamic is a quick pectin-based jam, so the flavor is brighter, more like freshly picked berries, with a hint of balsamic vinegar lingering just beneath the surface.

Fresh Picked Strawberries

The strawberry season will likely last for a few more precious weeks; something I need to take advantage of. I’d love to explore more variations, I’m thinking a strawberry basil or a strawberry lavender jam could be life-changing. Strawberry peach? Meyer lemon? Chocolate? Black pepper? Red wine? So many possibilities, so little time.

If you’re interested in the strawberry balsamic jam recipe, I just added 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to the basic strawberry jam recipe that came in the low-sugar pectin package. When I’m looking for a bare-bones basic jam recipe, that’s usually the first place I go. Although the basic non-pectin recipe below could easily be adapted, replacing the vanilla with a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.

(Psst! Download the printable labels for this jam here!)

Strawberry Vanilla Jam

Yield: 3 half-pint jars

Total Time: 24 hours

Ingredients:

1 quart strawberries (approximately 4 cups, chopped)

2 cups granulated sugar, divided

2 vanilla beans, split and scraped

1 lemon, juiced


Directions:

Wash, hull, and roughly chop berries. Toss with 1 cup sugar and vanilla beans and seeds in a large bowl. Cover and chill for at least 2 to 3 hours or up to 72 hours.


When you’re ready to make the jam, prepare canner and wash/sterilize 3 half-pint mason (or equivalent) jars. Keep jars in hot (not boiling) water until ready to use. Warm lids in hot (not boiling) water to sterilize and soften seal.


Pour the berries and all liquid into a large saucepan along with remaining sugar, discarding vanilla beans. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer until the jam reaches 220 degrees F, stirring regularly. Add the lemon juice in the final 5 minutes of cooking.


You can test the gel of the jam by placing a spoonful on a chilled plate. Return to the freezer for 1 to 2 minutes, then check for doneness. If you want a firmer gel, cook for a few minutes longer.


When jam has reached the desired consistency, remove from heat and skim off foam. Ladle hot sauce into jars, leaving 1/4-inch of headspace. Wipe jar rims and threads. Screw on lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from water and let cool completely, 12 to 24 hours. Check seals. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used within 3 weeks.


Recipe from Food in Jars.


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69 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. I love the idea of strawberry and lavender! Although I’m not sure it would be able to dislodge the idea of strawberry and vanilla jam from my heart…

    • i have been making strawberry vanilla jam for three years now…i cant keep it on hand! people ask for it over and over again! if you can, can DO IT!

      smeared on a piece of toast with a little bit of melted butter….there arent even words for how good that is!

  2. This looks so yummy! My new lunch obsession is strawberry and mascarpone on toast, but this jam would be a nice addition!

  3. I would love to make this for my wedding favors, but I’ve never made jam before! I need to start practicing :)

  4. All great flavors, Lindsay. I love vanilla beans!

  5. Can I use frozen strawberries that I picked last year and still have not finished eating?

  6. I had no idea there were different names for strawberries!

  7. Canning scares me! But this jam looks splendid. Gorgeous labels, too :)

  8. Love this post! I made strawberry balsamic jam last year and you reminded me how wonderful it is and that I need to make this soon. Love your labels – I need to get more creative on that end. Have a great week!

  9. Lindsay this is just gorgeous! I’ve always wanted to make jam and this summer’s fruit season may be the perfect time!

  10. Lindsay, I love the jars that you used, can you tell me where you purchased them?

  11. strawberry vanilla jam that tastes like ice cream? Yes, sign me up for that one! Great recipe, Lindsay!

  12. I would love to make my own jam, and this recipe with strawberries and vanilla just sounds perfect. Your photo’s are beautiful and the jam looks delicious. Can’t wait to try this out!

  13. Hasn’t hit yet here, but boy, do I need it to! A friend’s mom is going to teach me how to make jam, I am quite excited!

  14. These delicious jams you’ve been cookin up and canning have definitely inspired me to try out some canning myself. You really go the extra mile with the beautiful labeled jars!

  15. we just pulled the first little bowl of strawberries off our plants last night. i’m hoping i get enough to make my first ever batch of jam this year! i’ve done blueberry and fig, but not strawberry.

    this is going on my to-make list.

    i love those labels!

  16. Oh this jam sound delicious, mu grandmother makes some amazing strawberry jam, I remember how much I loved it when she would open a jar during cold winters!

  17. Strawberry-peach sounds like it would be absolutely amazing… I should really try canning again this summer. Last summer was too crazy what with moving and all!

  18. I had never heard of “Sweet Charley” or “Chandler” strawberries, but after seeing your photo, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what I used! The Chandler ones came from the same place you guys went and picked from (except mine were delivered to me courtesy Nathan & Newschannel5!), and the Sweet Charley ones look exactly like the ones I received from Delvin Farms. I must say, those strawberries made for some AMAZING jam!

    Thanks again for the label!

  19. Both of these flavors sound wonderful. There is just nothing like homemade strawberry jam. Your jars are so cute, did you just reuse jam jars from the store? I love the ribbon with the label. Very sweet.

    I made a peach rosemary and peach lime last year that were incredible. I love concocting new flavors.

    Pinning for next year’s crop.

  20. Those strawberry jams are looking good! I can;t wait for the local strawberries to be in season!

  21. Looks like a tasty combo! (And liking the labels too!) :)

  22. I made a strawberry lemon marmalade last year; very bright and sunny. Meyer lemons would probably elevate it to magic.

  23. Loving your jam posts! This is something I’ve always wanted to try making, but it seemed so daunting. Your recipe makes it seem doable; can’t wait to try it!

  24. I just need to find the right strawberries and then I’m making this jam for sure!

  25. If I wasn’t doing the Live Below the Line challenge this week, I would be hop-skipping to make this. I grew up making raspberry jam from my backyard patch and there is nothing more satisfying than making your own spread! Keep them coming.

    -hannah

  26. These flavors make me excited for summer!!!!!

  27. I made strawberry basil ice cream last summer, and that flavor combination is outstanding. I can’t wait to try this one!

  28. These are beautiful flavors- can’t wait to start experimenting with some jams this summer!

  29. Wonderful recipe! I love making strawberry jam! It’s my favorite!!

  30. oh wow… have always made simple strawberry jam.. with no added flavouring.. am quite taken with the strawberry and vanilla pairing!!!

  31. I actually just learned a ton! I am going to have to devote a whole day to this (I know I’m going to totally mess up a few times!)

  32. Aren´t you having the best of times canning! Beautiful everything, the jam and those labels!

  33. This sounds fabulous! I especially love the vanilla recipe without the pectin. And I love the labels you decided on! Super cute!

  34. Love love the label and cute jam bottle. Not to mention the recipe. Beautiful photography.

    Chanced upon your blog today. Gorgeous space you have here.

  35. I love how you used vanilla in there. I love the two compliment one another in desserts, so I bet this is perfect! Your jam looks wonderfully delicious!

  36. I never knew the differences in strawberries! Now I’m going to think of “Friends” when I see the Chandler ones… :) These both look delicious!

  37. Like you, I’ve missed making strawberry jam the last two years. My husband made it with his mother when he was little so he keeps saying we need to make some. I did, however, get to the strawberry patch and we did crepes and a spice cake topped with strawberries that everyone enjoyed. You jam looks terrific and the labels are perfect.

  38. I just love those jam stickers. So adorable!

  39. just needed to say, that shot of the strawberries in the carton is phenomenal! … and the personal labels are just about the sweetest thing ever.

  40. Can you reuse old jars from the store (ie. salsa, jam, spaghetti sauce jars)?

    • No, I wouldn’t trust that store jars would hold up to the high heat of canning. If you’re just refrigerating the jam, that’d be fine, but for canning I’d be sure the jars were made to hold up to high heat.

    • good to know! thanks for the info!

    • Classico spaghetti sauce is packed in mason jars so we reuse those with no issues. They’re too big for jam though.

  41. I love the combo of strawberries + balsamic. Looks so yum!

  42. just found your blog, love the title so much

  43. Love the jars – can’t wait to try the recipe.

    Where did you find the adorable labels?

  44. I am so glad I searched for strawberry jams on pinterest! I canned 6 pints of jam today for a friend – using honey instead of sugar. I wanted to find another recipe to try out as well and I am going to try your strawberry and balsamic recipe. It sounds delicious! I have a gallon of strawberries so I can make a bunch. :D Next on the list, is blueberry jam…do you have a recipe for that?

  45. making jams homemade is so worth it {except my husband will eat the whole jar in one sitting every time, so I have to make a lot}! both versions of this strawberry jam sound delicious. I love that you showed us the two varieties of strawberries!

  46. I love the idea of adding a little vanilla – I usually just go for straight strawberry as it’s my daughter’s favorite but I fell in love with a spicy version from Sommer @A Spicy perspective that I tried last year as well.

  47. I just made the strawberry vanilla…Super Delicious! This was my first time making jam or any kind of preserves; it was easy, so much fun, and so good! Thanks for the recipe!!

  48. This looks amazing!! We just came out of the strawberry fields and can not wait to make this! But, I want mine to look as pretty as yours…where do I find these labels? Thank you for such a wonderful recipe!

  49. Can I substitute vanilla extract for the beans?

  50. Ufff I love it! I love Strawberries, I’m crazy about Strawberry Jam!
    And I love every variation of it!! I haven’t tried yet Vanilla, I don’t know why! But sure is something that I will have to do! I always use rosemary or mint :P
    By the way! I love your jars and I adore your labels!!! How do you make them??

  51. I prepped the berries yesterday (Sunday) afternoon…your recipe says they can stay in the fridge for up to 72 hours before canning, but if it’s a little over, will that be okay? Wednesday evenings are really the only ones I have that aren’t filled with other things, so that’s when I’ll be canning. I’m just worried the berries might over-ripen, since they were perfectly ripe to begin with.

    Oh, and it took all my willpower not to just eat the vanilla-and-sugar-covered gems out of the bowl to begin with…can’t WAIT for the finished product! :)

    • I think you’ll be fine. Mine were in there a good 3 days with no ill-effect. The sugar is in essence preserving them somewhat. :)

      Enjoy!

  52. Hi Lindsay,
    A friend sent me over here to check out your adorable jam labels. She was so right, I’m making a lot of jam this season and was looking for a cute way to label the jars. Hope you don’t mind if I steal your look. I will have to be on the lookout for your cookie dough book it sounds sinful.
    -Gina-

  53. Hi Lindsay
    Went on to Amazon UK and ordered the book after coming across your blog – looks great!

    Can you tell me where you get your labels from? Your packaging looks absolutely lovely – just can’t seem to find in the UK! Anne

  54. I was wondering what the strawberries convert to in weight (lbs.) Thanks! Love the label.

  55. I have been all over this and cannot find the recipe for the strawberry balsamic jam. Am I missing anything? I would love to make this!

    • From the last paragraph:

      If you’re interested in the strawberry balsamic jam recipe, I just added 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to the basic strawberry jam recipe that came in the low-sugar pectin package.

      :)

  56. I made the strawberry vanilla jam a few times last year and it was incredible. I’ve got bother batch in the fridge macerating right now!! I have enough strawberries left over for another batch which I’m thinking will be the balsamic. Thank you so much for this recipe!!!

  57. I made the strawberry vanilla jam last night, and it is delicious!! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  58. Looking forward to making the Strawberry Vanilla Jam, question, how long was the vanilla beans you used? The ones I have are 6 inches long which are a little longer then the ones in most grocery stores.

  59. Very Well nerrated with images to make the strawberry with vanilla, good combination and i love strawberry flavour thanks for nice recipe

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