The image of twisted bodies, faces frozen in a rictus of botulism poisoning is what comes to mind whenever I entertain the idea of home canning. Sure, I have canned tomatoes and pickles before, but I never got up the courage to actually, er, EAT my efforts. Canning was NOT for mere mortals like me, rather it was the lofty realm of kitchen goddesses like my mom or my bestie, Rebecca. Alas, a trip yesterday to Great Country Farms and a very prolific and, might I add, addictive session of strawberry picking made me reconsider another attempt at the home canning summit. Well today I ascended that mountain of the gods. I made not just strawberry jam; I made (gasp) strawberry-vanilla jam (whaaat?)!
Now, the recipe I used is not mine, because in all seriousness when it comes to preserving foods, you do want to use a tested recipe. The Ball Strawberry Jam Recipe is an easy one for beginners and includes intriguing variations like vanilla, lemon and balsamic. I went with the vanilla variation because of its potential use in baked noms as a cake filling or on biscuits or scones. However, I used a whole vanilla bean versus half a bean like the recipe calls for. Who wants subtle flavor when you can have full-blown, right?
The satisfying “ping” as each jar sealed tells me there will be no horror show when I eat or share these ruby gems 🙂