Balsamic-Basil Strawberry Jam for #HotSummerEats

Welcome to my second post for #HotSummerEats.  (Click here for more details.)HotSummerEats (1)

I was on a strawberry canning kick during the middle of May.

Sixteen quarts…and what ya’ got? (Sing to the tune of “Sixteen Tons,” please.)   I got a lot of pints of strawberry jam.

I hate to make the same old, plain Jane jam, so during my canning frenzy, I made Strawberry-Lemon Marmalade, Strawberry Balsamic and Strawberry Vanilla Jams,  and this creation:  Balsamic-Basil Strawberry Jam.

Balsamic-Basil Strawberry Jam
based on Strawberry, Basil, and Balsamic Preserves from Minnesota’s Bounty:  The Farmers Market Cookbook by Beth Dooley

5 c. crushed strawberries
7 c. granulated sugar
4 T. lemon juice
4 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. Gourmet Garden Lightly Dried Basil

Place crushed strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a large, heavy pot.   (If you have a large enameled Dutch oven like a Le Creuset or a Staub, use it.)   Bring to a boil, stirring often, until sugar is dissolved.   Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, about 35-40 minutes.   (I just cook until “jammy.”  You can use a thermometer and when the temperature reaches 220 F., you’re done.   Or you can use the freezer or spoon test.)

Remove the pot from the heat and skim off foam if necessary.   Stir in the balsamic and basil.

Ladle into hot, sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace.   Wipe rims, place sterilized lids, and screw on bands finger tight.

Process in canner for 10 minutes.  Make sure boiling water is covering jars by 1 inch.

After 10 minutes, carefully remove the jars and let cool for 12 hours.

Gourmet Garden’s lightly dried herbs are perfect for canning.   Even though I grow my own herbs during the summer months, fresh herbs tend to turn dark and slimy if used for canning.


Image from Gourmet Gardens’ website.


These lightly dried herbs will not turn dark and they retain more flavor than regular dried herbs that can be found in the spice aisle.  I use the basil when canning tomato sauce and I use the cilantro for canning salsa and jalapeno relish.

Segue Alert:

Jam always reminds me of hot summers.   Growing up, mom would can away….jams, jellies, preserves.   She would also can peaches, pears, and cherries.    Using her hissing and scary pressure cooker, she would can green beans and other non-acidic produce.   And the pickles….she pickled a lot.   What I remember most about those days was the heat.   Most of the vegetables and fruits would ripen during the hottest months, July and August.   I remember many a day sweating alongside mom in the garage kitchen.  Mom had furnished this canning area in our garage (which was really more like a barn) with appliances bought cheap at farm auctions. She had a double-cast iron farmers sink, a gas stove, and a dilapidated but still working refrigerator.  Her rationale was that we did not have to heat up the house.   In reality, it was a sweat shop out there and I would have much rather been inside with the air conditioner.
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Now as I survey my wreck of a kitchen after canning, I realize her wisdom.   Clean up was simpler and I remember times when we actually washed out our work area with a garden hose.

Back to this jam.

Enjoy this concoction on the obligatory biscuit, English muffin, or homemade bread (see above) in the mornings, but also enjoy it on top of ice cream.    One of my favorite ways to enjoy this jam is to eat it with a hot dog. What? Yes, you heard me right.   Spread a toasted hot dog bun with cream cheese, spoon on some of this jam, place on a grilled-to-perfection hot dog, and top with jalapeno relish.  This supreme idea is not mine. It is from The Dog House Food Truck’s Mercury Dog, only raspberry jam is used on the original.

mercury dog

Don’t be scared…try it.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Besides this beautiful hot dog creation, feel free to use Balsamic-Basil Strawberry Jam as a glaze for grilled chicken, lamb, or pork as well.

If you are still reading, thank you.  I applaud your efforts in making it through this rambling post.


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Disclaimer – Thank you to #HotSummerEats sponsors BenBella Vegan, Caribeque, Casabella, Gourmet Garden, Intensity Academy, Not Ketchup, Out of the Weeds, Pirate Jonny’s, Quirk Books, Spicely Organics, T.Lish , and Voodoo Cheff or providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for#HotSummerEats without additional compensation.All opinions are my own.

Stay tuned for more summer-inspired recipes from the other seventeen bloggers in #HotSummerEats.   We’re all wrangled together by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla.  (And, don’t forget to enter the giveaway here.)

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