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Preserving the Best of Spring’s Bounty

Strawberry Vanilla Jam

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If you’ve been thinking about canning some of your favorite spring fruits for jams, preserves and marmalades, stop thinking and start doing, because the time is here.

Strawberries are at their peak right now so there’s no better time to visit your local berry farm, pick more than you think you’ll need and take everything home to preserve that wonderful flavor for the rest of the year.

Lindsay of the blog Love and Olive Oil has several great recipes for canning strawberries. The first is a classic, pectin-free Strawberry Vanilla Jam. There’s also a quick Strawberry Balsamic Jam that does use pectin. Both are great ways to savor that berry flavor long into the winter months, and you can choose to make one or both recipes depending on how much time you’d like to commit to your canning extravaganza. 

Lindsay says the Strawberry Vanilla Jam is her favorite for its deep, rich strawberry flavor that’s enhanced by flecks of vanilla bean, which impart an ice cream-like flavor to the finished jam. The sweet, almost roasted flavor develops during the long cooking process which draws out the fruit’s natural pectin the old-fashioned way. 

Looking for a faster jam that’s just as delicious? Her Strawberry Balsamic Jam uses store-bought pectin to thicken the mixture quickly and easily. The balsamic vinegar imparts a layer of acidity to balance out the sweetness from the strawberries and pectin. You could also swap some vanilla bean for the balsamic to get that same sweet flavor like the Strawberry Vanilla version in a lot less time. 

If you’re in the mood for something a bit citrusy, she’s also got three different riffs on Blood Orange Marmalade. There’s a straight-up blood orange flavor, one with Chianti wine and another with strawberries. No matter what fruit you choose, as long as you’ve got the best produce at its peak, your jams and marmalades are sure to make those spring and summer flavors last all year long.

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