Strawberry Balsamic & Black Pepper Preserves

Strawberry Black Pepper Preserves // Savvy Eats

I am so indecisive. When I brought home my 11 pounds of strawberries this weekend, I just could not for the life of me decide how to use them. A batch of strawberry red wine jam was an obvious choice, as was two or three big batches of plain strawberry jam for a big project I’m working on.  But I had too many ideas and too few strawberries for the remainder. So naturally, I turned to the Savvy Eats Facebook page to get your input. The choices:

1. Strawberry chipotle jam

2. Strawberry black pepper preserves

3. Strawberry balsamic preserves

The votes came out to be fairly evenly split between the last two, so I decided that I simply wouldn’t decide – I’d combine them into one preserve!

Strawberry Black Pepper Preserves // Savvy Eats

Strawberry Balsamic & Black Pepper Preserves

Yield: About 4 half pints

Strawberry Balsamic & Black Pepper Preserves

In these strawberry preserves, balsamic vinegar adds a depth to the sweetness, while the black pepper adds a little heat at the end of each spoonful.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Gently stir the strawberries and sugar together. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next morning, prepare for canning. Wash the jars and flat lids with hot, soapy water. Put the jars in the canning pot and cover with hot water. Heat over high heat to keep the jars hot. Place the lids in a heat-proof bowl.
  3. By now, the strawberries will have released a lot of juices. Pour the berries and all the accumulated juices into a large saucepan, making sure to scrape any sugar out of the bottom of the container. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, then pour the berries into a colander set over a large bowl.
  4. Return the juice to the saucepan and boil for 15 minutes to reduce.
  5. Add the berries, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar to the saucepan, and cook, stirring often, until the preserves are 220F. Skim off the foam every few minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the black pepper.
  7. Move some of the boiling water from the canning pot into the heat-proof bowl containing the lids. Line the hot jars up on a folded towel, then pour the water out of the heat-proof bowl and off the lids.
  8. Fill the jars up to 1/4” below the rim. Use a clean towel to wipe any preserves off the rims, then top each jar with a lid and a tightened ring. Place the jars back in the canning pot and make sure they are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Place the jars on a folded towel and allow to sit, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Check the seals of the lids after 1 hour. If a seal has not formed, refrigerate the jar immediately.
http://www.savvyeat.com/strawberry-balsamic-black-pepper-preserves/

Use It Up: Strawberry Jam Grilled Cheese

Sunday was a day of 11s, apparently. Around 11, Dan and I headed up the road to Silver Queen Farm. We parked on the road and pulled out our bikes for a ride. We had no map, no definitive route in mind and no thoughts on distance. We just felt like riding for a bit in an area that didn’t require climbing several huge hills, which is what would usually happen if we were riding out of downtown Ithaca.  We pulled back up to our car right as we hit 11 miles.

Then we packed the bikes back up, pulled out our basket and berry containers, and headed into the fields. 11 pounds of strawberries later, and we were on our way home. Since then, I’ve been working my way through those 11 pounds of strawberries, turning them into strawberry mint salad and jam and preserves. I’ve had to work quickly, because I have plans to go back to Silver Queen again this morning with some friends – I need my containers to be freed up!

Strawberry Jam Grilled Cheese // Savvy Eats

Jam grilled cheese is one of my favorite easy ways to use my preserves lately. Jam and preserves add a little sweetness and a deeper flavor to the sandwich. Here, I paired strawberry red wine jam with cheddar and sourdough, but the flavor possibilities are truly endless. Try changing up the fruit preserve, the cheese or even the type of bread. This week, I’m playing with putting the grilled cheese in my waffle iron to cook, elevating the sandwiches to a whole new experience. It adds so many crispy nooks and crannies, and helps the sandwich hold together!

If you try this, note that you will need to use a Belgian waffle maker, rather than the thinner classic waffle iron. The Belgian models are thick enough that they can really press down on the sandwich, creating the criss-cross pattern you’d expect. If you use a classic model, the iron won’t be able to close, and you won’t have those deep indentations on the bread – plus it will take forever for the cheese to melt, if it ever actually does!

Strawberry Jam & Cheddar Grilled Cheese on savvyeat.com

Strawberry Jam Grilled Cheese

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1

Strawberry Jam Grilled Cheese

This recipe is so simple, it doesn't need any measured-out ingredients. The sandwich works best if the cheese is thinly-sliced, so that it melts evenly. Feel free to mix up the preserve, cheese or bread to make the sandwich your own!

Ingredients

  • Salted butter (though unsalted will work as well)
  • Sourdough bread
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Strawberry jam (I used strawberry red wine jam, but any would work)

Instructions

  1. Preheat a Belgian waffle maker.
  2. Spread butter on one side of two slices of bread. Lay the bread on a plate, butter-side down.
  3. Top the bread with thinly sliced cheddar and a layer of strawberry jam. Sandwich the pieces together, and grill in a Belgian waffle maker until the edges are browned and crispy and the cheese is melted.
http://www.savvyeat.com/jam-grilled-cheese/