Strawberry Port Jam with agave and a hint of vanilla

Strawberries, Port, agave and a hint of vanilla make a rich jewel coloured jam

I’ve been making jam for a month or so now and I realized I haven’t included one of my favourite ingredients in my previous jam recipes- wine! I thought about putting red wine in a strawberry jam but decided to ramp up the flavour by going with Port. I also can’t seem to stop myself from putting in vanilla bean in jam so far, so a quarter of a vanilla bean was thrown in as well.

I was adventurous again with the amount of sugar and berries. The first batch didn’t really set so I reduced the amount of crushed berries and increased the amount of sugar slightly for the next batch.  I wasn’t disappointed with the first batch though; I just labeled it Strawberry Port Dessert Sauce & Jam.

I considered using honey again in this jam but I abandoned that thought rather quickly when I thought about how the flavour of the honey would be fighting the Port and strawberries. The mild caramel flavour of agave and small amount of vanilla compliments the jam by giving support to the stars of the show – strawberries and Port.

Strawberry jam seems to foam quite a bit. I don’t see this a problem though since the foam is delicious since most of the bubbles subside and you are left with the best strawberry syrup. I beg of you, don’t put butter in the jam like I have seen suggested to help stop the foam. People don’t expect there to be dairy in jam and if someone has a food sensitivity or is vegan then this is an unwelcome surprise. Besides, you are making homemade jam, how hard is it to skim off a little foam? I hope most of you read this paragraph and like me, say to yourselves, “Why the hell would anyone put butter in jam?! That is weird and a little gross.”

Enough background to the recipe. I have to type quickly because my little boy is sleeping very fitfully because his molars are coming in. Poor little guy is suffering quite a bit this time. He was drooling so much on me when I was cuddling him to get to sleep that I had to change my shirt and bra because he soaked me.  Thank God for baby Advil and baby Tempra.

I will be posting the recipe for the scones shown in the photo in this post later as well (if the teething gets better).

Note after posting: It was brought to my attention by Sean at Punk Domestics that Certo is known only as a liquid pectin in some areas. As a result it may be confusing to some readers when I call for pectin crystals but also refer to Certo as my chosen brand. In Ontario, where I live, Certo is available as both liquid and crystals. 

Strawberry Port Jam on a Brown Sugar & Creme Fraiche Scone

Strawberry Port Jam
Recipe Type: Jam
Author: Christina Austin (Buffy & George blog)
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 1 hour 15 mins
Strawberry Port Jam with agave syrup and a hint of vanilla bean. Makes five 250 ml mason jars.
  • 3 cups crushed strawberries
  • 3/4 cup Port Wine
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup agave syrup
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 of a vanilla bean
  • 1 pkg pectin crystals (such as Certo)
  1. Wash the jars and lids and sterilize the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes in a large pot with a rack on the bottom. Keep the jars hot until you pour in the jam. To be totally honest, I boil mine for longer and leave them in the hot water while the jam finishes.
  2. Hull, wash and crush the fresh strawberries with a potato masher and measure 3 cups of the crushed berries into a large heavy bottomed stainless steel pot.
  3. Cut off one quarter of a vanilla bean, slit it down the centre and scrape the seeds into the pot. Add the vanilla pod to the pot as well.
  4. Measure the sugar, agave, Port and lemon juice and add them all to the pot. Add the Certo as well.
  5. Turn on the heat to medium and stir occasionally. If you see a clump of vanilla seeds, press them against the side of the pot to break up the clump and stir it in to the rest of the mixture so that it combines easily.
  6. Skim off the foam that comes up as the jam boils. Don’t throw this away!! It is delicious on plain yogurt. You could put it on ice cream too.
  7. From the time that I turned on the heat for the jam until I felt it was ready for the jar it took about 32 to 35 minutes. 20 of those minutes was active boiling.
  8. When the jam is ready, ladle into hot sterilized jars. Place two part lids on them (new lids with rings) and tighten – but not too tight!
  9. Process the jars in a pot of boiling water with rack on the bottom for 10 minutes.
  10. Remove and let cool on a cooling rack. Check to see that they all sealed properly. If you have jars that did not seal, refrigerate those and use within a few weeks.

I sterilize the funnel and ladle that I use in a separate pot of boiling water. About 5 minutes before the jam is ready I add the lids to the boiling water in this pot so that they will be ready and hot when I pour the jam into the hot sterilized jars.
Tools I use:
– canning pot with rack
– large funnel
– stainless steel ladle
– stainless steel large flat spoon
– stainless steel heavy bottom pot
– jar lifter
– magnetic lid lifter
– cooling rack

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  1. Kate says

    This sounds so delicious. Strawberries & port are two of my favorite things. Good luck with the teething! My son's molars are coming in too, so I was laughing out loud (sympathetically of course!) at the description of having to change clothes;)


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