Strawberry Balsamic Freezer Jam

posted by Neil Myers

Local strawberries are in!  Yay!!  But what to do when your loving husband brings you a flat of berries (8 quarts) rather than the 4 quarts you needed?  And the “shelf life” of these berries is maybe 8 hours.  Make freezer jam of course.

And what do you do when the weather has not been hot enough to bring out that full strawberry flavor you remember as a child?  Add a little balsamic vinegar of course.

With plenty of berries to experiment with, I made 3 batches according to the directions for strawberry freezer jam using Ball’s Instant Pectin.  The first batch was the “control”, just to see if adding the vinegar to the other batches had any effect on the jelling.  The vinegar batches were no soupier than the no-vinegar batch.  (Freezer jam by its nature tends to be soupier than cooked jams.)

I added 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar to one batch and 2 teaspoons to the other.  The 1-teaspoon batch tasted better than the control batch–more depth of flavor, and you couldn’t taste the vinegar until the very end.  The vinegar just enhanced the flavor.  In the 2-teaspoon batch, the flavor was still great, but the vinegar was a little more prominent.  It’s amazing what a difference such a small amount made.

We are currently serving the 1-teaspoon batch with rhubarb bread at breakfast.  I think the 2-teaspoon batch would be a great sauce over ice cream and pound cake.  What a treat to have either version stashed in the freezer.

Recipes that I saw online called for reducing the basamic before adding, but I really didn’t want that intense a flavor for breakfast.  What do you think?  Have you played around with freezer jams?  Any good combinations we should try?



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