Strawberry and vanilla jam is a great combination. Our friend Cam visited recently, and brought 4 big punnets of strawberries for us and we didn’t have to think twice about what we would make with them.
Right now strawberries are in season and it’s time to make strawberry jam which we love on toasted sourdough with lashings of butter, or sandwiched between a sponge cake with cream, or a zillion other ways to serve it up.
If you’ve never made jam before let us show you just how easy it is to make and we just about guarantee you’ll never buy store bought again.
Big blobs of strawberries in a luscious, vanilla scented, sweet reduced jammy liquid is one of life’s sweet joys.
Our Mum, Noela was the queen of making preserves. Friends would continually drop off clean jars, or jars with the label still on for Mum to make her goodies.
The laundry sink was often filled to the brim with jars soaking to remove the labels (why is it that manufacturers use glue that takes a knife, scourer and eucalyptus oil to remove the label).
Friends dropping buy rarely left without a jar, or two of Mum’s famous preserves.
How to make strawberry and vanilla jam
Making strawberry jam is ridiculously easy.
You simply take some strawberries and halve, or quarter them, then toss them in the sugar to sit for 1-24 hours.
Add the lemon juice, vanilla seeds and pod and gently simmer for 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile sterilise your jars and lids by heating them in the oven.
When your jam tests for readiness allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes, pour it in the jars and pop the lid on. How easy is that?
other strawberry combinations
- strawberry and black pepper – simply stir 1 tablespoon of cracked black peppercorns through the jam whilst it’s cooking
- strawberry and tarragon – stir a couple of tablespoons of fresh chopped tarragon through the jam just before ladling into jars
- strawberry and rose water – add 2 tablespoons of rosewater along with the lemon juice
- strawberry, lime and vanilla – add zest and juice of 1-2 limes along with the vanilla
- strawberry and basil – stir through chopped fresh basil leaves just before ladling the jam into your jars
- strawberry and Campari – stir through the Campari just before ladling
- strawberry and balsamic vinegar – add the balsamic just before ladling into your jars
- strawberry and chipotle – Yep, chipotle adds a little kick combined with the sweetness of the strawberries. Add enough chipotle for your taste when you begin the jam
When you make up a batch try out a few combinations and see how you like these new flavour tastes.
How to prepare jars
Jars need to be sterilised before adding your hot jam. It might sound tricky but is in fact terrible easy. It simply requires heating the jars to a temperature where bacteria can’t survive.
- preheat your oven to 130c (275f)
- wash your jars and lids in hot soapy water and rinse well (don’t wipe them with a tea towel)
- place upright jars and lids (providing there’s no rubber on the lids) onto a baking sheet leaving a little spacing between each jar so they are not touching) and place the tray into the oven for 10-15 minutes (if using lids with rubber simply boil them rather than place them in the oven)
- remove jars when jam is ready and pour the hot jam into hot sterilised jars and pop the lid on and seal whilst still hot
How long can I store homemade jam ?
Homemade jams will keep for 12 -15 months when kept in a cool dark place. Once opened keep the jam in the refrigerator for 3 months.
What to serve strawberry and vanilla jam with
Quick answer is whatever tickles your fancy.
- spread on your favourite toasted bread at breakfast
- on top of pikelets, or pancakes with cream
- stir some jam through thick yogurt and top your breakfast cereal
- make queen of puddings which uses up leftover bread, jam and eggs
- sandwich a delicious sponge cake with jam and cream
- cover a wheel of brie, or camembert with jam and wrap in puff or phyllo pastry and bake it
- stir some jam through baked rice custard
- spoon over vanilla ice cream
- make jam drops
Watch How To Make Strawberry and Vanilla Jam
We would love to hear from you in the comments below when you make this delicious strawberry and vanilla jam.
Strawberry and vanilla jam is ridiculousy easy to make. Make up a batch or two when strawberries are cheap and plentiful, and you'll never buy store bought jam again.
- 1 kg (2.2 pounds) fresh strawberries hulled and halved, or quartered if particularly large
- 1 kg (2.2 pounds) white granulated sugar
- 60 ml (2 fluid ounces) fresh lemon juice
- 1 large vanilla pod halved, and seeds scraped or 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- hull and halve, or if you have large strawberries quarter them
- mix strawberries with the sugar and allow to sit for 1-24 hours
- place sugar and strawberries in a heavy based pot along with the lemon juice and vanilla seeds
- place 2 small plates in the freezer - this is for testing the jams readiness later on
- slowly bring the strawberries and sugar mix to a gentle simmer allowing the sugar to dissolve
- preheat oven to 130c (275f)
- have ready some water and a pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan of any sugar - this is an important step to stop the sugar crystalizing
- wash down the sides of the pot with the brush dipped in water to remove any sugar stuck to the sides of the pan and simmer gently for approximately 25-30 minutes
- while the jam is simmering place the washed jars and lids on a tray and pop in the oven for 10-15 mins - (note - if using lids with rubber lining boil them instead of placing them in the oven) see above for how to prepare jars
- remove a plate from the freezer and place a teaspoon of the jam onto the cold plate and pop in the fridge for a couple of minutes
- remove plate from fridge and gently push your finger through the jam
- if the jam forms a distinct skin and wrinkles the jam is ready
- if you don't get the wrinkle effect continue cooking the jam for a few more minutes and test again until you get the wrinkle effect
- when your jam is ready, use a spoon and skim the surface of the jam to remove the foam
- allow the jam to cool for 15-20 minutes so the jam thickens (this helps to prevent all of the strawberries from rising to the top)
- pour jam into the very hot jars leaving only a small gap and seal with the lid immediately (this helps to create a vacuum)
- allow jam to cool completely on the bench
- wipe jars with a damp cloth to remove any small spills of sticky jam
- store in a cool, dark place
if using lids with rubber coating on the inside boil them instead of placing them in the oven - see notes above on how to prepare jars in the post above