Strawberry Lavender Jam

Yield: 12-13 250 ml jars

Ingredients:

  • 15 cups of smooshed strawberries (approximately 2 baskets shy of a flat)
  • 1 heaping tablespoons of dried lavender, crushed & 15-20 stems of fresh lavender, minced
  • The juice & zest of 1 large lemon
  • 12 cups of granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (optional)

Steps:

  • Wash and hull strawberries
  • Smoosh strawberries with potato masher or fork
  • Place strawberries in a large pot on the stove, add sugar, and stir frequently until dissolved
  • Add lavender, and balsamic vinegar, if you so choose
  • Cook uncovered over medium heat for approximately 2 hours, or until jam has set*
  • Process in boiling water for 10 minutes

Canning (yikes!):

Canning is terrifying. Well, it wasn’t too bad the second time around, but let me tell you a short story about my first canning experience, because it will give some insight as to why it took me 5 years to try again!

When I was 17 and in cegep, I took a DIY class in which we all had to learn a skill and teach it to our classmates. My first-boyfriend-and-current-best-friend and I decided to pair up on the project, and learn how to make chutney and can it. His older sister, who knew a fair bit about canning, was in town with her two young kids, and was going to teach us about the whole process.

It took us several days to prepare the chutney. How it took so long, I cannot explain, but we literally spent days and nights in the kitchen, bickering while adding new ingredients, and layers of flavor. When we had to present the project to our class, we brought the giant pot of chutney on the subway to our teacher’s home, where we were supposed to instruct our classmates about how to can. The rest of the day was a haze of fighting, burnt fingers, and a batch of (probably badly sealed) “Fruit and Root” Chutney, which I advised my classmates not to eat as I handed them their jars to take home. I don’t remember the grade I got, but it was a bit of a hippie program in which our classmates played a large roll in deciding our final grade, and we probably got points for effort. When I decided to make this recipe, I looked all over for the photos that we took during our epic chutney-making session and finally found them. Check out our baby faces in the last five photos of the gallery above!

Anyhow, all that to say I approached this Strawberry Lavender Jam making experience with trepidation. I knew that I would inevitably have to can all of my jam, so I prepared by watching many instructive youtube videos and bit the bullet. Below are some links I found helpful in learning how to can. I don’t feel experienced enough to direct anyone through the process, but I will say that I invested in a very large canning pot, and borrowed some tongs that I have found very useful. I am so excited that I already have a list of about 15 recipes that involve canning which I plan on tackling this summer!

http://pickyourown.org/allaboutcanning.htm

http://www.freshpreserving.com/getting-started.aspx/