- 1½ quarts strawberries (about 6 cups packed sliced berries)
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon unsalted butter (optional, helps reduce foaming)
prep the strawberries
Start with the berries: rinse them well, hull and slice them. Put them in a heavy-bottomed pot. (I used my favorite 4 qt pot, which was perfect for the task.) Scrape the pulp from the vanilla beans, then add that and the beans themselves to the berries. Add the sugar and stir well. Cover with a clean tea towel, and let stand 1 to 2 hours to bring the juice out of the berries. (You can let them stand, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, if you need to.)
prepare jars and other equipment
Since you’re making only 3 jars of jam, you can use a smaller pot for the boiling waterbath. Put empty clean jars in a pot, add water to at least an inch over the tops of the jars, and bring the water to a boil. Remove the jars, and let them drain upside down on a folded towel. Don’t drain the water from the pot; you’ll use it shortly.
Wash the lids in warm water and set aside (see new procedures for jar lids!) Keep the bands handy. Put a saucer or small plate in your refrigerator to chill (this will be for testing doneness.) Have an extra small jar, or custard cup, clean and ready for any excess jam.
simmer the berries
While the empty jars are coming to a boil, add the lemon juice and a tiny bit of butter to the reserved pot of strawberries and sugar. (The butter is optional, but it does reduce foaming) Put the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. When the berries are completely cooked, briefly remove the pot from the heat. Remove and discard the vanilla pods. Whiz the preserves with an immersion blender to make a smooth puree.
cook until thick
Continue boiling the preserves, stirring often. I like to test for doneness by putting a spoonful on a saucer, and chilling it in the refrigerator for 2 minutes. After that time, if I can drag my finger through the jam, and leave a clear track that doesn’t fill in again, it’s ready. In my kitchen, this took about 10 minutes more. Remove from heat.
seal in boiling waterbath
Ladle jam into prepared jars, wipe rims, and apply lids and bands. Anything that won’t fit in your four jars can go into the clean custard cup – chill it in the fridge, this is perfect with yogurt or on toast for breakfast!
Wipe the jar rims, apply lids and bands, then process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Cool jars, label, and store in a dark cool place.