6.24.14 Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Jam
Can it be strawberry season forever? Please? I have to say, I may be going a little overboard on the strawberries these days, but really, can you blame me? The season for perfectly red, juicy, ripe strawberries is altogether too short in my opinion. And so, I’m making the most of strawberry season this year. Starting with the semi-ridiculous amount of berries I picked just this last weekend.
So, with a huge flat of berries taking up my counter, I was left to the task of figuring out exactly what I was going to do with them. And quickly. There’s been a lot of spontaneous strawberry snacking going on in our household, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before those berries were nothing more than a fond memory. I could think of about a million things to make with them, but narrowing them down, well that was a little tricky. In the end, I went with the obvious answer - jam. I mean, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy freshly made strawberry jam. And I personally am slightly obsessed with the stuff.
So jam it was. But while I was excited about the end product, the idea of standing over the stove, stirring a pot of berries for, well, far too long didn’t seem terribly appealing. Plus, in past experiences with strawberry jam-making I always seemed to have trouble getting my jam to the right consistency. So with this in mind, I decided to try something totally different - roasting the berries. And I’ll tell you what - it worked like a charm. It’s beyond easy (only 3 ingredients!!!), requires very minimal participation on your part during cook time, and the results are - dare I say - even more delicious than regular stovetop jam. Of course, it helped that I added a generous pour of good balsamic vinegar to the berries before roasting. Which made the resulting jam deliciously sweet with a lovely complex flavor.
Oh, and the consistency problems I had before? Well not any longer. After roasting, I strained out the liquids until the jam reached the perfect consistency. What’s more, in doing this, you end up with a surprise bonus - strawberry balsamic syrup. As if I needed an excuse to mix up a cocktail. It’s great mixed with sparkling water (and perhaps a little vodka) for a refreshing strawberry balsamic soda. And I’m sure you can think of about a million other uses for it too. So there you go - two awesome recipes for the price of one. And strawberry season has only just begun. I’d say it’s off to a good start.
Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Jam (and bonus Strawberry Balsamic Syrup)
Makes about 1 ¼ cup jam + ¾ cup syrup
- 2 lbs strawberries, hulled and cut into halves
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
1. Place strawberries in a bowl, add sugar, and stir to mix thoroughly.
2. Let berries sit and macerate while you heat your oven to 250 degrees.
3. Once oven is heated, pour berries and their juices into a 9 x 13 baking dish, and spread out so they are in a single layer. Pour balsamic vinegar over berries, place baking dish in the oven, and bake for 2 hours. Check berries every 30-40 minutes and give them a quick stir.
4. After 2 hours, remove berries from oven - they should look very dark red and a little dried out on the edges. There will also be a lot of syrup. Mash berries with a fork or a potato masher, then use a sieve to strain off the liquid syrup until jam reaches your desired consistency (don’t forget to save the extra syrup!). Store jam in the refrigerator, and use within a couple of weeks (should not be a problem).