Strawberry-Vanilla Preserves

StrawberryVanillapreserves smallExcerpted from Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin by Allison Carroll Duffy (Fair Winds Press, June 2013).

Allison says: With ripe, in-season strawberries, combined with a smooth, exotic note of fresh vanilla, this preserve is nothing short of heavenly. It will add a bit of flair to the breakfast table (or bagel) of course, but it’s also great in desserts—try it on top of a biscuit with a bit of whipped cream for a spectacular strawberry-vanilla shortcake! The berries in this preserve tend to float to the top during canning, so mix it up well before serving.

Yield: 4 to 5 cups

Before You Begin:
Prepare calcium water. To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.

Strawberry-Vanilla Preserves Ingredients

2¼ pounds strawberries
½ cup water
1 vanilla bean
1½ teaspoons calcium water
1¼ cups sugar
1½ teaspoons Pomona’s Pectin powder

Strawberry-Vanilla Preserves Directions

1. Wash your jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring canner to a rolling boil, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them. (Add 1 extra minute of sterilizing time for every 1000 feet above sea level.) Reduce heat and allow jars to remain in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small sauce pan, heat to a low simmer, and hold until ready to use.

2. Rinse strawberries and remove stems.

3. Combine strawberries and the ½ cup of water in a large saucepan. Using a paring knife, slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add the vanilla seeds and the bean pod itself to the strawberries. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir carefully—you don’t want to crush the berries. Remove from heat.

4. Measure 4 cups of the cooked strawberry mixture (saving any extra for another use), and return the measured quantity to the saucepan. Add calcium water and mix well.

5. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and pectin powder. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

6. Bring strawberry mixture back to a full boil over high heat. Slowly add pectin-sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve pectin while the preserves come back up to a boil. Once the preserves return to a full boil, remove the pan from the heat. Using tongs, carefully remove the vanilla bean pod from the preserves and discard.

7. Can Your Preserves: Remove jars from canner and ladle hot preserves into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Remove trapped air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, put on lids and screw bands, and tighten to fingertip tight. Lower filled jars into canner, ensuring jars are not touching each other and are covered with at least 1 to 2 inches of water. Place lid on canner, return to a rolling boil, and process for 10 minutes (adjusting for altitude if necessary). Turn off heat and allow canner to sit untouched for 5 minutes, then remove jars and allow to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Confirm that jars have sealed, then store properly.

TIP: Shapely Strawberries
Unlike jams, which usually require that you mash the fruit, when you’re making preserves, the idea is to keep individual pieces of fruit (or uniformly cut pieces of fruit) mostly whole and intact. For strawberries, small or average-size berries are ideal, though larger berries will work—simply slice them in half if they are too big. To help avoid mashing delicate fruit unintentionally, use a wider saucepan so that fruit has room to spread out and cook evenly without a lot of stirring. And when you do stir, stir with a back-and-forth motion, rather than an up-and-down motion—this way you’ll be less likely to crush the berries.

Recipe by Allison Carroll Duffy

For more inspiring recipe ideas, see Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin: The Revolutionary Low-Sugar, High-Flavor Method for Crafting and Canning Jams, Jellies, Conserves, and More by Allison Carroll Duffy and the Pomona’s Partners, published by Fair Winds Press, June 2013, and available in paper or ebook everywhere books are sold.

Pomona’s Pectin is available at your local natural food store, food co-op, and many farm stands. Find it also at Sur La Table and a growing number of more conventional grocery stores with natural food sections (Wegmans, Hy-Vee, Rosauers, Nugget Markets, Coborns, Fairway, and others). If you can’t find a store near you on our store locator, you can order from our website or many other online sellers.

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4 thoughts on “Strawberry-Vanilla Preserves

    • Hi Barbara,
      Yes, you can use the strawberry jam recipe from the directions that come with Pomona’s Pectin and add the vanilla bean, following Allison’s instructions for adding it in the Strawberry-Vanilla Preserves recipe. You wouldn’t add the extra water. You want to be sure you are working with 4 cups of mashed strawberry after the initial simmering with the bean pod, be sure to add the calcium water and pectin-sweetener after the simmering and re-measuring, and don’t forget to remove the bean pod before jarring.

      I hope this helps — happy jamming!

  1. The little guide that came with the pectin packet says to use up to 2 cups of sugar and 2 teaspoons each of the calcium water and pectin per 4 cups of strawberries for strawberry jam. The recipe here for Strawberry Vanilla Preserves uses only 1.5 teaspoons each of calcium and pectin. WHY?

    • Hello VC,
      You ask a good question. The answer is that a jam and a preserve are two different creations. Pomona’s Pectin jam recipes are made from mashed fruit and preserves are made from whole pieces of fruit or uniform chunks. When you mash fruit, you are jamming more fruit than when the fruit is whole or in chunks, so you need more pectin and calcium water to achieve the jell. Here is some information from our blog under the category “Using Pomona’s” — What Is a Preserve?

      A preserve is different from a jam! “In a preserve the fruit remains more whole; small berries or cherries are left as is, and larger fruits, such as apples or peaches are cut into uniform chunks,” says Allison Carroll Duffy in Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin.

      The fruit is then suspended in jelled liquid. When making a preserve, you can use a smaller amount of Pomona’s Pectin because you are only jelling the liquid not the fruit.

      I hope this answers your question. Thanks for using Pomona’s — and happy jamming.

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