There is nothing more satisfying than making your own jams and preserves. They have an ultimate home feel to them. Whether sweet or savoury for the meal that takes your fancy adding this delicious-ness heightens every sense as you know it was you that made it.
On this occasion I wanted to make a jam that tied in with St Georges day as I was making scones to celebrate or patron saint. A big lover of breakfast jams and cheese and crackers I wondered if it was possible to create a jam that could be eaten with both.
So to the drawing board and to the research tool that is Google I found several recipes for strawberry jam with some adding herbs, spices and many other elements but they never caught my eye.
Having made many dishes before with strawberries, balsamic vinegar comes to mind as I have made macerated strawberries in balsamic vinegar before.
I then come across a website that had strawberry jam with cracked black pepper added at the end.
This got me thinking…and to the stove I went.
I mixed all three ingredients together. The surprise that welcomed me upon trying the jam was the immediate sweetness of the strawberry’s that really wants to be smothered on buttered toast but more so warm homemade scones, and then it hit me just at the end, the tang of vinegar and heat from the black pepper. Wow, now I wanted to raid the fridge for some Stilton and get some French stick also smothered in butter.
I tried them all, with toast, with scones and with Stilton. I recommend trying this jam with them all and I am sure it will not disappoint.
Strawberry, Balsamic Vinegar and Black Pepper Jam
- 1 Kg hulled strawberries
- 750 g jam sugar
- 100 ml balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. cracked black pepper heaped
- Put all of the ingredients in to a heavy based saucepan and mash down with a potato masher. If you don’t own a sugar thermometer then place a plate into the freezer, as this will be the test plate to see if your jam will set.
- Bring the pan to a simmer over a medium heat until the mix is silky. This is the point the sugar has dissolved and is important to ensure a smooth jam.
- Increase the heat and rapidly boil until the jam reaches 105°C on a sugar thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer then rapidly boil for about 10 minutes. Check by putting a bit onto your frozen plate and run your finger through. If it goes sticky and thick like a jam should it is ready. If not repeat in two-minute sessions.
- Allow cooling in the pan then pour in to sterilised jars. The jars can be sterilized by rinsing in hot soapy water then placing in to the oven at 110°C for about ten minutes. The sterilization time and cooling of the jam works hand in hand to filling your jar. Complete by putting wax discs on top then securely fixing your lids.
- Completely cool and enjoy as either a breakfast jam but can also be enjoyed with a little cheese and biscuits. Once opened, use within a week and keep in the fridge. Unopened the jam will keep in a cool place for 6 months.