Monday, January 27, 2014

strawberry vanilla bean jam . . . remembering my dad

We had our Annual Family Dinner over the weekend. 

My family gathers every year to celebrate and remember my dad. We enjoy a big dinner together at Buca di Beppos, and share memories, eat and laugh, and laugh and eat . . . and enjoy one another's company. There are only a few times a year when we ALL get together, and this is one of those occasions.

One of the ways I celebrate/remember my dad is by sharing a piece of him that I fondly remember. Last year I brought everyone a mini angel food cake. It was his favorite cake! And the year before, I brought everyone home-made divinity candy . . . his favorite candy.

This year marks 8 years since he returned Home; so  needless to say, I've prepared many things over the years, from desserts to CDs to 'fun bags' that were all intended to stir happy and loving memories of our Dad.

If you knew my dad well, then you knew how much he loved anything STRAWBERRY!  He loved strawberry shakes, strawberry jam, strawberry & rhubarb pies, strawberry syrups, fresh strawberries, strawberry ice cream, and Sees strawberry cream candies.

I felt inspired to make home-made strawberry jam in honor of him this year.  And because of how my brain naturally works, I couldn't resist adding a twist to the traditional strawberry jam recipe.

          I added vanilla!  The resulting jam is enhanced with subtle yet distinct vanilla overtones.

I think my dad would've been proud of my canning accomplishment . . . and he would've loved this traditional strawberry jam, with a vanilla twist.

                       We miss you, Dad. 

5 cups mashed strawberries, hulled and sliced
4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
7 cups granulated sugar
( holy cow! That's a lot of sugar! )
1/2 vanilla bean, split

Being a canning novice, I highly recommend this link.
It provides an easy-to-follow pictorial on how to make the jam, step by step.
I chose not to use Pectin, because I remember my dad sharing with me that his mother (my grandma) didn't add it to her jam recipes.
And this link provides an easy to follow pictorial, step by step, on how to sterilize your jars.

Strawberry Vanilla Bean Jam
Add half a vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, to the crushed strawberries.
Cook as directed, and remove vanilla bean before ladling jam into jars.

I studied the tutorial link I shared with you above a few times before attempting to make the jam. 

For years, I thought that canning was going to be too difficult to try . . . but it's not. It's quite enjoyable . . . and I love that canning possibilities and combinations are endless. Our oldest daughter, Charley, and I are huge fans of blackberries . . . so that will be our next canning adventure. Until then . . . 

LET'S STAY in touch!

Thank you for stopping by!
I love reading your comments and appreciate them so much!


  1. 7 cups of sugar. oh my...but sounds so delish. I love every homemade jam that I have ever tasted, Now I know why.

    1. Hi Laura,
      I know! I almost fell out of my chair when I read the recipe, lol.
      I had no idea that jam recipes called for so much. Sure is a special treat when you have it though. Thanks so much for coming by!
      Have a beautiful week,

  2. What a beautiful way to honor his memory! I'm stopping by from Fluster's Creative Muster. If you ever are looking for another link up, I'd love to have you swing by for Tuesday Greens. Have a wonderful week!

  3. Recently I won a gift basket of jams. One of them was strawberry-vanilla bean. I could not stop eating it, it was so good. Strawberries are not in season here until the middle of May. This is one of the first things I plan to make.


    1. Hi Madonna,
      So happy you came by and shared how much you love Strawberry-Vanilla bean jam!
      My family and I love it too! I hope you remember to make it in the Spring, when strawberries are more available.
      Have a great week,

  4. Stopping by from Thurs Favorite Things party and this looks scrumptious!

  5. I love homemade strawberry jam too. I make it and raspberry every year. Never thought of adding vanilla. A fun twist! Great way to honor your dad! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  6. Your jam looks delicious! And what a loving tribute to you Dad!

  7. I'm sure your dad would have been very proud, and enjoyed this very much. I can't wait to give it a try!

  8. I can't believe I am saying this, but I have NEVER made my own jam. I don't know why as it's always so much more delicious. And this jam looks amazing!

    Thanks for linking up to Marvelous Monday on Smart Party Planning.

  9. Yum! My goal is to try canning this year, so I'm excited to have a good jam recipe. I'm a new food blogger and found you on a link party. I've followed your social sites and hope we can connect on those. Can't wait to read more of your blog. Becky at

  10. Wow I keep clicking on your links! You rock!

  11. Anonymous1:50 PM

    What a lovely way to remember your father Suzanne, I can imagine this jam tastes amazing. I adore jam and this one sounds so good. Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great day!! Laura@Baking in Pyjamas

  12. This is a wonderful tribute to your father! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  13. How long will this jam keep?


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