August 07, 2013

Roasted Strawberry and Balsamic Jam

The Inspiration   Forget the white sugar.
Use honey instead!
Yield: 3 half-pints

3 c. strawberries, stemmed and mashed
3/4 c. honey
1/2 c. water
1/4 oz. agar-agar powder (or the big half of a stick)
1 T. balsamic vinegar
a pinch of salt

Combine the water and agar-agar in a heavy-sided 2-qt. saucepot; let soak 15 minutes. Meanwhile oven-roast the berries and honey at 400°F. (A square Pyrex works well.) When the berries have softened, add the vinegar and salt, stirring to distribute. Transfer the berries to the pot, stirring to combine with the soaked agar-agar. Over medium heat, bring to 211°F* then cook for another 5 minutes. Spoon into hot sterilized jars. Seal and process in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes.*

NOTES: the agar-agar sets up fairly firmly, so this recipe is great for using overripe berries, which normally produce a too soft set.

This recipe is a small-batch adaptation of "Strawberry Jam with Agar-Agar" from Putting It Up With Honey: A Natural Foods Canning and Preserving Cookbook by Susan Geiskopf. I found the original recipe too "clean" on flavor and short on color. Roasting the berries intensifies both the flavor and color, and the balsamic vinegar amplifies it even more. If you don't have balsamic, just use lemon juice and you'll still have a delicious strawberry jam.

*adjusted for high-altitude


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