This is really a strawberry jam at heart, but the addition of raspberry juice, makes it “berry”. The raspberry juice addition is inspired really. It doesn’t make it taste like raspberry jam, it just heightens the strawberry flavour and makes for such a deep, rich coloured and berry delicious jam.
I happened to get a basket of local strawberries that had a lot of smaller berries in it. I decided to use all of them whole in this jam, rather than cutting larger berries. It made for lovely chunks of strawberry on my toast, which I just love. Of course, any size strawberry will work with this jam.
As often happens to me, when I ran to the grocery store for some fresh raspberries to make this jam, I found the shelf empty. Run on raspberries? Rather than make a trip to another store, I grabbed a bag of frozen whole raspberries. It worked just fine, so really, either fresh or frozen raspberries will work here. (Fresh strawberries are recommended, though).
This is my usual small batch jam. As this jam has no added pectin, it’s a loose-set jam. It will make 2 or 3 small jars that can be refrigerated or frozen, so there’s no need to “can” this jam if you don’t want to. This jam will keep in the fridge for several months. I recommend using a candy thermometer if you have one, but if you don’t, just use the cold-plate test detailed below to check for set. Don’t worry though, even if your jam ends up under-cooked, it will still be delicious and a great topping for your favourite vanilla ice cream or waffles.
Again, this is a small-batch of jam (you’ll end up with about 2 1/2 cups of jam). If you’d like to make a larger batch to preserve, simply double the recipe.
Berry Delicious Balsamic and Black Pepper Jam
Summary: This is a beautiful jam with a rich berry flavour and a deep, rich red colour. The combination of flavours is perfect.
- 14 oz. fresh strawberries, hulled and halved (12 oz. net, after hulling)
- 2 cups + 2 Tbsp. granulated white sugar
- Juice of 1/2 a small lemon
- 10 oz. fresh (or frozen) raspberries
- 2 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 4 or 5 peppercorns, freshly ground (I used my mortar and pestal)
- Select small strawberries and hull. If they are really small, leave them whole, otherwise, halve or quarter them.
- In a bowl, combine the prepared strawberries with the sugar and lemon juice. Stir to combine then cover loosely with a sheet of parchment paper, and let them macerate, refrigerated, overnight.
- The next day, place the raspberries into a saucepan with 3 1/2 ounces water (just shy of 1/2 a cup). Bring to a boil and boil for a few minutes until the berries break down. Strain this mixture through a fine sieve, pressing the fruit lightly with the back of a spoon to extract all the juice. Add the collected raspberry juice to a preserving pan and discard the raspberry pulp and seeds. Pour the macerated strawberries into the sieve and collect the juice, reserving the strawberries to add later. Add the strawberry syrup to the raspberry syrup in the preserving pot and bring to a boil. Skim and continue cooking over high heat. Cook until the syrup reaches 220° F. on a candy thermometer.
- Add the reserved, macerated strawberries to the pot, along with the black pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil once more. Skim, return to a boil, cooking for about 5 – 8 minutes while stirring gently. Check the set using a candy thermometer (or alternately, a cold plate – see tip below). The strawberries should be translucent and the temperature should have reached 220° F. on a candy thermometer.
- *Testing for set with a cold plate: Set a dinner plate into your freezer before you start to make your jam. As your jam is coming close to setting, remove the plate from the freezer and drop a small puddle of hot jam onto the plate. Let stand a few second, then run your finger through the middle of the puddle. If the puddle runs back together, it is not set and you need to cook longer. If the path remains and doesn’t run back together, your jam is done.
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 30 min
Total time: 8 hours 45 min
Number of servings (yield): 2 1/2 cups of jam
Adapted from Mes Confitures: The Jams and Jellies of Christine Ferber