I reccomend using Pomona's Universal Pectin. It allows you to use less sugar, honey or another sweetener of your choosing in comparison to a standar pectin which relies heavily on the sugar content. I found Pomona's at PCC, a natural food market in the Seattle area, but I'm sure Whole Foods may also carry it.
Delicious on English muffins, goat cheese or buttered toast.
Cheers, and happy canning! —allythomp
What You'll Need
Aged balsamic vinegar
Vanilla bean pod
Clean and hull your strawberries and bled them, if you'd like, in a blender until smooth. Using Pomona's pectin, prepare the calcium water. Add the strawberries and calcium water to a large pot and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, pour the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds and add them to the pan, along with the pod and the star anise. bring to a rolling boil and simmer for a few minutes. Add the vinegar and it's contents to the strawberries while they come to a boil, you will fish them out in a bit.
In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, pectin and salt. Once the strawberry pot has come to a boil, vigorously whisk the bowl of sugar/pectin/salt into the pot and continue to mix for 1-2 minutes to ensure the pectin dissolves evenly.
Once the mixture comes back to a boil remove it from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes or so and skim the foam that has formed off the top of the jam. Fish out the vanilla bean half and the star anise pods. At this point, can in sanitized jars and process for 5 minutes, or pour into jars or a container of your choosing and keep refrigerated. If you are not canning, use within a couple weeks.