Love and Olive Oil

Strawberry Vanilla and Strawberry Balsamic Jam

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

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1 quart strawberries (approximately 4 cups, chopped)
2 cups granulated sugar, divided
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
1 lemon, juiced


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.

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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

  2. Thank you! I love your recipes and play with them to suit my tastes. This jam usually comes out a tad sweeter than I would like. So this time, I reduced sugar to 1 and 3/4 cup and added the rind and half the juice in while cooking (instead of the end). I kept the juice of 1/2 the lemon to adjust tastes at the end but didn’t need it. It turned with the right amount of sweetness for me, but also a little tangy, which I liked a lot. The fourth burner pot is wonderful for small batches like this!

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

  4. 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.

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

  6. 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!!!

  7. 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.


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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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. :)


  12. 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??

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