Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way

Getting Crazy with the Jams

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Given that we constantly like trying new things, we weren’t contented with just canning regular old strawberry jam. I ran across this recipe for strawberry preserves with black pepper and balsamic vinegar and thought, why not? Here’s how that went.

We doubled the recipe to get the yield up to 4 cups. I took the sugar down to 1 cup as opposed to the called-for 1 1/2 cups. I found after sampling that the sweetness was adequate with that decreased amount of sugar. It might be important to note that I had a very sweet, aged balsamic though. So, the additional sugar might be necessary with more bright and tart balsamic. I felt suspicious of the amount of pepper in the recipe. I halved it, figuring that I could taste it and add more after cooking for a bit. After simmering for 15 minutes, we gave it a taste. The pepper really mellowed out after simmering, so we added the rest of the pepper that the recipe called for.

These preserves are delicious. I had extra strawberries on hand, so I whipped up some shortcakes. I tried out Alton Brown’s recipe, and it yielded the best shortcakes that I’ve had to date. These shortcakes straight out of the oven with the preserves drizzled on them, were simply outstanding. The balsamic adds depth and complexity to the strawberries. I thought the acidity of the berries along with the balsamic might overwhelm, but that wasn’t the case. Herbal isn’t the first thing that I think of when tasting strawberries, but the balsamic brought out these qualities and let them shine. This is lovely, and I will be making these preserves again.

The jarred strawberry preserves with pepper and balsamic.

The jarred strawberry preserves with pepper and balsamic.

Getting the berries ready.

Getting the berries ready.

The amazing shortcakes.

The amazing shortcakes.

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