I have a mortal fear of canning. And I do mean that almost literally, I am terrified I will put something up and then kill my whole family via botulism, and our obituaries will read that we died from eating last summer’s tomatoes. But I am trying to overcome it and hope to do so before this summer’s tomato crop comes in.
A few months ago I started hearing about “freezer jam” everywhere. You know how you go your whole life not knowing about something and then suddenly everyone you know is talking about it? That was freezer jam for me. Apparently the whole world, including my sister, knows all about freezer jam and I failed to get the memo. Anyway, I figured I would try it since the Oxnard strawberries had hit their peak and were about to disappear (strawberry season is marked by the appearance of the Oxnard strawberries, the moment the Oxnard strawberries hit $5/3 pints and are so good you’ll eat all three pints in one sitting, the disappearance of the Oxnard strawberries and the appearance of the Santa Rosa strawberries…) so I bought a bunch and tinkered with Mark Bittman‘s Low-Sugar Jam recipe, adding balsamic vinegar and replacing the sugar with brown sugar. I also made a regular batch, and the balsamic batch is far and away my favorite. (Not my 3 year old’s favorite, he prefers grape jelly, but whatever, more for me.) I’ve got several jars in the freezer still but the Santa Rosa strawberries just hit $5/3 pints, so I think this weekend I’ll freeze a few more. (With some tarragon from the garden, perhaps?)
Balsamic Strawberry Freezer Jam
- 6 cups strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered
- 1- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- a good splash of balsamic vinegar
Put the fruit in a big saucepan and smush up with a potato masher. (This is a good step to delegate to your child.) Add a cup of sugar and vinegar and place over medium high heat.
Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves and it turns into a liquid mess. Taste and adjust sugar/vinegar as desired.
Turn heat to low and stir occasionally until berries have totally fallen apart and it’s thickened up nicely. Taste again, adjust sugar/vinegar again if necessary, and then pour into jars. (I use very small jars because this only keeps in the fridge for a week or two.) Cool and then refrigerate/freeze.