Each year when strawberry season rolls around I find myself looking for reasons to buy exceptionally large amounts of fresh berries because they smell so good as I walk buy them in the store.
This year, I dove in and purchased an abundance of strawberries with the mindset that I would have to find a way to use them all before they went bad.
Luckily, a few weeks ago, just before Grandma June Bug passed away (you can read all about that here), I rescued a few forgotten cookbooks from her pantry. I flipped through them at her bedside, laughing with her at some of the more unusual suggestions, such as turtle soup and sauerkraut balls.
And while those less common recipes stood out, the abundance of recipes for fresh homegrown goodness caught my eye. What a perfect time to put good old Grandma June Bug’s church cookbooks to the test! So now that I’ve read through just about every strawberry recipe from 1950, I’ve found something to do with all those berries.
I’ve landed on this irresistible Strawberry Vanilla Jam; it’s a combination of a few simple recipes I had found with some added flavor for fun. We’ve been spreading it on toast, mixing it in yogurt, dripping it over cheesecake, and eating it straight from the jar. You’ll probably do the same.
- 2 pounds strawberries, hulled, and cut into large chunks
- ¼ cup water
- 3 ½ cups raw, unrefined sugar
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Place the water and strawberries in an uncovered thick bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Stir to prevent sticking and cook until the berries begin to break down.
- Add the sugar, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Boil for about 3 minutes.
- Reduce the mix to a light simmer. Simmer uncovered for 22-30 minutes, or until the mixture becomes thick. Do not stir the mixture during this step.
- Add the vanilla extract, stir to combine.
- Remove from heat. Squeeze the juice of ½ a lemon on top, do not stir and allow to rest until cool.
- Portion the jam into clean jars. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes.
For some extra homemade goodness, try using this homemade vanilla extract.
As a side note, what ever happened to church cookbooks? I’m talking the plastic bound, recipes from the neighbors, hometown goodness cookbooks. They have a charm no bookstore could ever sell. Good thing I found some old gems.