These balsamic strawberry preserves are quick and easy. There's no sterilizing or special equipment involved.
I got the idea for these balsamic strawberry preserves at my last cooking demonstration for Freedom Farmers Market. It was a student's idea, and I was so glad that she suggested it! These balsamic strawberry preserves are quick and easy. There's no sterilizing or special equipment involved.
Here's the thing about cooking demonstrations: there is actually quite a bit of down time. With a pickling demonstration I can cheat a few things to move it along, but when you're making jam that's trickier. Stirring is the name of the game. So while we watched our strawberries cook down, we talked about other jams that we could make. One woman mentioned that balsamic strawberry preserves might be pretty magical, and I have to tell you: she was right!
You can use these sweet and sour strawberry preserves on a regular ol' PB&J, like Darrol Henry does, or get a bit fancier. Spoon it over ice cream. Use it as a base for salad dressing. Eat it with a spoon.
Strawberry Hulling 101
Like my last strawberry jam recipe, you'll want to hull your strawberries before chopping them up. Hulling is super simple so if you've never done it I encourage you not to get overwhelmed. Here's a simple photo tutorial for how to hull your strawberries:
Once your berries are hulled, you'll chop them up and mix them with a little bit of brown sugar and your balsamic vinegar.
The acid and sugar break down the cell walls in the strawberries, softening them up. Here are my berries before and after steeping in the vinegar/sugar mixture:
After that, you just dump the nice, soft berries into your pan, and you're cooking! I recommend using a stainless steel frying pan, but if you don't have one that should be okay. The key is to cook them in a shallow pan, so the liquid cooks off faster. After making jam in a frying pan, I will never go back to making it in a pot!
Quick, Low Sugar Balsamic Strawberry Preserves
- 1 quart strawberries - hulled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- In a large bowl, stir together the strawberries, sugar, and balsamic. Set aside for 20 minutes to let the berries soften.
- Heat a small stainless steel frying pan over high heat. Add the berry mixture, and cook, stirring almost constantly, until they reach a jam-like consistency. The strawberry jam will thicken a bit once it cools, so keep that in mind when you’re deciding whether they’re ready to go. It took me about 12 minutes to reach the thick consistency of strawberry preserves. The time can vary depending on how juicy your berries were and what brand of vinegar you chose, so just keep an eye on it and use your judgement.
- Once they’re done, transfer them to an airtight glass container, and let them cool on the counter before you close them up and stick them into the fridge.