Island Strawberry Jam


In my experience, nothing brings out loyalty to local produce more than strawberries. When I lived in Quebec I often observed how fiercely people would assert that Quebec strawberries were far superior to the ones in Ontario. Now that I live in BC, I’ve noticed the very same phenomenon to a greater degree; of course, depending where you are, island strawberries beat out the flavour of mainland berries, or vice versa. My theory about this loyalty is simply that people like the taste of home, and that perhaps even more so than other fruits and vegetables, summer strawberries taste their very best when eaten closest to their source.

We’re now nearing the end of the strawberry glut, though some local farms do continue to harvest the edible jewels from everbearing varieties through July and August. To celebrate the  season try this simple recipe for strawberry jam. Inspired by a Nigella Lawson recipe, this one has a distinct Vancouver Island twist, thanks to an extra luxury local ingredient. (If you don’t live on Vancouver Island, this recipe will work just as well with your local variety of strawberries and your favourite balsamic vinegar!)

Easy enough for a novice jam maker, this one does not call for added pectin – the lemon juice provides enough, and there is no need to fuss with themometers – a simple test will tell you when it’s ready.

675 g. Vancouver Island strawberries, stems removed and cut in half (optional)

700 g. fine granulated sugar

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. Venturi Schulze Balsamic Vinegar

4  250ml jam jars, sterilized

Place a small plate in the freezer – this will serve later to test if the jam is done.  Place strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepan and stir to coat. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Boil for 5 minutes, and pull your plate out of the freezer. Test for doneness by dropping a small amount of jam onto the cold plate. Let cool for a few moments and then poke with your finger. If the surface of the jam wrinkles, it is done. Let cool for 20 minutes. Stir in teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and taste. Add more balsamic vinegar by the teaspoon to intensify flavour as desired. Stir and transfer to sterilized jars.



Written By:

Rebecca Baugniet is a freelance food writer and editor living on Canada’s West Coast with her husband and their four children. The author of three published cookbooks, Rebecca has also written for EAT Magazine and for Montréal ...

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