Strawberry Vanilla Bean Jam

There are few things that taste more like spring than fresh strawberry jam.  I've made my own jams since I was a young momma because they were so easy to make, and always tasted amazing on fresh bread.  The two things I would make when I needed a lift, bread and jam!  Well, if you have followed me long, you know I've been on a Sourdough bread journey since January and when the last batch was proofing, I opened my fridge and took out two baskets of strawberries, and go to washing. 

It was just two baskets of store bought berries, and it took less than 10 minutes to wash and lop off the green leaves, quarter and place in a medium stockpot.  I added a cup of water and two cups of sugar, turned on the heat to medium high and gave them a stir. 

Just look how bright they are.  After they were cooking for a few minutes, I thought about the Vanilla Sugar I made a in January and wondered how adding fresh vanilla sugar and a bean or two would make the strawberries taste.  Curiosity always wins, right?  

I opened the jar of Vanilla Sugar and felt like I was floating, it was so fragrant and light.  I added a cup of the vanilla sugar to the pot and pulled out two vanilla beans.   To make your own Vanilla Sugar take some real vanilla beans and press down the down into the center of a jar of granulated sugar, top with a lid and store for 6 to 8 weeks.  It's the perfect way to have a little extra vanilla in anything you use sugar with.  

The pot of strawberries kept at a low boil for about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile I stirred it a few times and watched it thicken slightly.  After 20 minutes, I took it off the heat and poured it into a jar and placed it in the refrigerator to cool.  

As it cools, it thickened to jam consistency and I got my sourdough out to slice and toast.  I couldn't wait, and called Mike in from the shop to enjoy a yum moment with me.  He loves warm, fresh sourdough as much as I do and even more, homemade jam.  I didn't tell him that the it was infused with real vanilla.  

We both were shocked at how amazing this jam was with that little hint of vanilla.  It was the best we have ever had.  In the past few weeks we have been enjoying it on sourdough toast with a shear of ricotta cheese and a spoonful of the Strawberry Vanilla Bean Jam.  We've shared it with friends for late night desert and one of them, said it tastes like a cheese cake.  I agree!  It is amazing.  

To recap this simple recipe...

Strawberry Vanilla Bean Jam

2 Quarts of Fresh Strawberries
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1 Cup of Water
1 Cup of Vanilla Sugar
2 Whole Vanilla Beans

Place cleaned, hulled and sliced strawberries in a medium sauce pan on medium heat.  Add water, sugar, vanilla sugar and vanilla beans and heat, stirring occasionally for 20 to 30 minutes.  Take off heat and let cool.  Pour into jars and place in refrigerator with lid to cool completely.  Jam will thicken more as it cools.  

Jam will keep for 2 weeks in fridge or 3 months in freezer.

I hope you enjoy this little change up in your Strawberry Jam experience.  Add the vanilla and turn every bite in spring heaven on toast.  xo

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