This post has been sponsored by Bounty Advanced Paper Towels. All opinions are my own. Making homemade strawberry jam is a rite of passage in the summer. It’s way easier than you think and the addition of balsamic vinegar (and maybe a little black pepper) will yield a seasonal jam unlike any other.
I’m not sure at what point in time I decided I was old enough, or should I say “mature” enough, to handle an all white kitchen. Anyone who knows me, or has seen me work, knows that this is a terrible combination. The reason I loved our kitchen in San Diego was the black slate floors, the black sink, and what I called “dirt colored” countertops. My housekeepers thought I was the messiest person alive, but I’m of the mindset that if you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist, so I never really bothered with any kind of scrubbing on a day to day basis.
I’m sure now you think I’m gross, and are questioning all those beautiful recipes (messy kitchen never pictured), but I assure you it was always clean enough.
Our new kitchen in Oakland is the exact opposite. White countertops. White cabinets. Light wood floors to show off the piles of black dog hair. As much as I love the brightness of it, I was pretty terrified when we first moved in. I’m the girl who flunked lithography class in art school because my prints were always smudged. I’m the girl that no one would lend their clothes to because no matter how careful I was, they always ended up with paint on them. How on earth was I supposed to live with an all white kitchen?
It’s been two and a half months, and so far, I’ve done pretty well. I’m kind of paranoid about the counters getting stained, so I tend to stay on top of my wiping. The hardest part so far is keeping the lower cabinet faces clean, but when I was at Costco the other day, I found a new partner in cleaning crime. Bounty Advanced paper towels.
These paper towels are the strongest and most durable paper towels I’ve ever tried, especially when wet, but before I was willing to fully commit to them, I needed to put them through the ultimate test. Making jam.
Homemade jam is my favorite seasonal project, but my most hated clean up. It’s just plain messy, and there’s no way around it. Boiling sugary, bright colored fruit causes a sticky mess that requires serious elbow grease to remove, and of course when I make it, it’s twice as messy as a normal person.
I didn’t even give Bounty Advanced a softball like light colored apricot jam, I went straight for the #1 mess-maker, homemade strawberry jam with super dark balsamic vinegar.
Great news! The jam turned out awesome. Extra Great News! Bounty Advanced handled the mess like a champion. A thin layer easily absorbed the excess water after I sterilized my jars, I got a nice, clean seal thanks to the new, longer select-a-size sheets vs. National Market Bounty Select-A-Size, and I didn’t have to fill my entire compost bin with paper towels, because I only needed a few to scrub the sticky, sugary puddles off all my counters (and cabinets. and floor. and wall.)
I am so proud of myself. I think this is the beginning of a new era. Clean Betsylife. I like the sound of that. Of course I couldn’t do it without my friend Bounty Advanced, but as long as I have these awesome paper towels on hand, I think I’m ready to live up to my new, sparkling white standards.
Homemade Strawberry Balsamic Jam
Making homemade strawberry jam is a rite of passage in the summer. It's way easier than you think and the addition of balsamic vinegar (and maybe a little black pepper) will yield a seasonal jam unlike any other.
- 3 pounds strawberries
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 10 4-oz jars (or larger jar equivalent. I gave these minis away as gifts)
- Roughly chop the strawberries. Place them in a non-reactive dutch over and add sugar. Stir to combine.
- Place dutch oven over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring regularly, until the berries soften and the liquid bubbles and thickens. Skim any foam that appears on the top. Stir in balsamic vinegar.
- Bring mixture to 220 degrees.
- Remove from heat and stir in black pepper.
- Fill jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Thoroughly wipe the rims and place the lids on each jar. Turn rings until finger tight.
- Process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
- Remove jars and place them on a kitchen towel to cool .