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This recipe is an adaptation/mash-up of the strawberry jam recipe in the book titled Well Preserved by Mary Anne Dragan and the strawberry vanilla jam recipe in the book titled Put 'Em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton that also includes my own additions! The butter is optional and will help tame the foaming but don't use more than 1/2 teaspoon as this may raise the pH too high making your finished product unsafe to can. The lemon juice should be bottled instead of fresh because bottled has a more reliable and consistent pH where as fresh can vary. This makes wonderful gifts that are a bit more special than just regular strawberry jam! I usually get 6 half pint jars and a quarter pint jar out of this recipe.
- Place the strawberries in a large stockpot and crush them slightly with a potato masher to break them up a little and release some of their juice. Simmer the strawberries over medium low heat for 10 minutes.
- Add the lemon juice, vanilla extract, seeds scraped from the vanilla beans, (you may also add the vanilla bean pods if desired after you have scraped the seeds from them - just remember to take them out before you start filling your jars!) butter and sugar and stir well until sugar is dissolved.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat and boil hard for 20 minutes, stirring frequently (be careful, this has a tendency to spit at you and boiling sugar burns are unpleasant!), until it has reduced and thickened a bit. You may test for gel at this point if deisred.
- Remove from heat and stir constantly for 3 minutes to redistribute the fruit evenly through the jam and prevent it from floating to the top of your finished product.
- Ladle jam into hot half pint (8 oz.) jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes - adjusting for altitude.