This jam is my husbands FAVORITE. He loves it so much, he won't even eat the store-bought jams anymore. I mean, he WOULD if he had to, but I keep it hand so he doesn't have to "suffer." This jam is made using the traditional method of cooking the jam for longer length of time. No store-bought pectin is added since fruit will produce it's own pectin when cooked for 15-20 minutes. It does come out softer than store-bought but it's easy to spread and makes a great topping for desserts, especially icecream.
TIP: It's important to cook the jam until it reaches the "gel stage." This temperature varies depending on your height above sea level. To make it easier, boil a pot of water and check the temperature with a thermometer. What temperature your water boils at, add 8 degrees- and that's the temperature you must cook your jam to. Here in Louisiana, my water boils at 210 degrees so I have to cook my jam to 218 degrees.
Strawberry Vanilla Jam
3 containers of ripe strawberries
2 Tbs pure vanilla extract
3 cups of granulated sugar
4 half-pint "jelly jars"- prepare the jars and lids for canning
Large pot of boiling water for processing jars
Wash your berries. Then cut the tops off and halve. Place berries in food processor or blender and puree.
To your puree, add the sugar and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil, stirring often to prevent the jam from sticking and burning. Cook until jam reaches the gel stage (between 218-220 degrees).
Once the jam reaches the gel stage, remove from heat. Skim off any foam that accumulates on top. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Top with lid, screw band down until fingertip-tight. Process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Wait 5 minutes then remove jars from canner, cool and store. (Check back after 24 hours to make sure the jars have sealed- they seal as they cool).