strawberry jam with balsamic and black pepper

I bought two jars of jam on Monday at our local farmers market. I had no intention of buying jam. I bought those two jars because I’m a sucker.

After taking my daughter to gymnastics that afternoon, we stopped by the farmers market to browse the selection. It’s a small market, with only ten or so booths set up in the peak months, now through the summer. In the winter months, there might be just a couple of farmers selling their produce. On Monday, though, there were some good things available. Several farmers had fresh tomatoes, greens of some sort or another, lots of zucchini and yellow crookneck squash, and cucumbers. A couple of booths had pints of fresh plump blueberries, and many of those pints were filled with berries almost the size of a dime. One local goat farmer had raw goat’s milk, goat’s milk ricotta, and fresh eggs.

As we were leaving, arms loaded with bags of summer squash and blueberries and a token batch of goat’s milk ricotta, Maddie dragged me over to a table filled with jam jars of all sizes. The jam maker was a tall Australian man wearing a cowboy hat. His accent was lovely. He wasn’t so bad looking, either.

I explained to the jam maker that I had just made a batch of strawberry jam, just two days before. And no, I really didn’t need any jam, but his certainly looked good. He asked my daughter if she’d like a taste. This was a sneaky move, of course. What eight-year old turns down free samples of sweet jam and apple butter? Not mine.

While winning over my daughter, one lick at a time, the jam maker told me about the flavors he’d created and about his upcoming ideas for new batches. Before I knew it, the Australian had won me over. His passion for jam-making and combining new flavors, his sweetness to my child, and yes, his accent — all of this resulted in me coming home with $10 less in my pocket and two jars of jam we didn’t need.

So, about that jam I made. The Australian’s strawberry jam was good, but mine takes the cake.

After going strawberry picking with the kids on Saturday, we had an abundance of strawberries. Seven pounds of strawberries, in fact. Making preserves of some type seemed the only rational thing to do with that many berries. Other than eating them by the handful, that is.

Jennie is always a reliable recipe source – not to mention friend – and she didn’t fail me here. I used her strawberry jam recipe as a model, mostly because I loved her idea of using the microwave to cut the preparation time. Genius, I tell you. I can hardly wait until her cookbook comes out.

Yield: approx 3 cups

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Strawberry Jam with Balsamic and Black Pepper

This recipe is adapted from Jennifer Perillo's Strawberry Jam recipe. I used regular pectin since that's what I had on hand, and I added some balsamic vinegar and black pepper.

Strawberries plus balsamic vinegar plus black pepper might just well be the new bacon.


2 quarts strawberries (approximately 8 cups), washed and hulled
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
4 grinds fresh black pepper
2 teaspoons pectin


In a large glass microwave-safe bowl, mash strawberries using a potato masher or fork to desired consistency. Microwave on high in the microwave, covered, until strawberries are almost boiling, about 5 minutes.

In the meantime, whisk together sugar and pectin. Stir sugar and pectin mixture into berries. Add balsamic vinegar and black pepper, stir to combine. Cook on high for 3 more minutes, taking care to cover the bowl well with a paper towel (very important!), until thick and bubbly.

Transfer to a container, let cool, and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

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21 Responses to “roasted spiced pecans”

  1. Jenn — January 26, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    I’m with you on the pronunciation 🙂 those sound great!

  2. Gail — January 26, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

    I’m with you, MJ…pe-kawn. And, my favorite bar nuts recipe is from The Union Square Cafe..
    cayenne, brown sugar, salt, rosemary & butter. Sometimes I use mixed nuts, but my favorite is pe-kawns.

  3. Chris — January 26, 2011 @ 6:25 pm

    These look irresistible! I admit, I pronounce them both ways. It depends on what the recipe/dish is and where it came from (Old home – up north, New Home – down south). Odd, really. Same with Aunt (Ant) and Aunt (Aônt).

  4. Liz the Chef — January 26, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

    After having had my orange tree professionally pruned last year, we have double or triple the fruit this winter – I’d hire someone to do your folks’ tree. Worth it for those gorgeous nuts!

  5. Pingback: Tweets that mention roasted spiced pecans | the merry gourmet --

  6. Kathy — January 26, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

    I love your spice jars; I apologize if you’ve answered before, but I’ve been a long-time reader and I don’t recall seeing anything about them… where did you get them? What did you use to write on them?

    Thanks for the recipe! I may try with almonds, as Mini Me is highly allergic to pecans.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — January 26th, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

      Hi Kathy! The jars are Libbey Vibe jars (here’s a link on Amazon: To write on them, I used an oil-based marker from Sharpie – made for writing on glass and other surfaces.

  7. Paula - bell'alimento — January 26, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

    I think these could be a new addiction. I won’t tell you how I pronounce them ; ) The jars are adorable LURVE xoxo

  8. Liren — January 26, 2011 @ 9:56 pm

    I pronounce it like you, but my understanding is that your sweet hubbie’s pronunciation is considered correct as well. What a treat for you to grow up with a pecan tree! I can’t get enough of them…this recipe sounds wonderful and would taste so good in my salads!

  9. Kelly @ EvilShenanigans — January 27, 2011 @ 12:25 am

    Ok … I admit … I have serious jar envy! So cute!! Anything I say about this recipe will sound dirty … so let me just say that you pronounce pecan properly, and those pecans sounds mighty tasty no matter how you way it. Even if you say it wrong. 😀

  10. Lana @ Never enough Thyme — January 27, 2011 @ 8:58 am

    Well, I grew up in pecan-producing country and we always pronounced it “puh-cahn.” We had pecan trees in our yards, all over town and in orchards throughout the area – mostly Stuarts and Slides with a few Papershells, too. But no matter what variety you have or how you say it, pecans are just delicious! Pecans are always my preference, much more so than walnuts. I have a similar savory-spicy recipe that I make for cocktail parties and a sweet version that I make every Christmas.

  11. Lynda — January 27, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

    oops, I think I pronounce it your husband’s way. I do share your love for pecans, though! Thanks for the recipe.

  12. Seems like everyone is having the same pronunciation debate! I’m with you, my husband is in the other camp. How nice that you had a tree in your backyard growing up, like you said it certainly would be the perfect convenience food!

  13. Lael Hazan @educatedpalate — January 28, 2011 @ 7:27 am

    “You say TomaaatO & I say TomaetOE, potaeeto, potaaato, lets call the whole thing off”. However, you say it, tastes great. Now I’m going to have that song in my head all day 🙂

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — January 28th, 2011 @ 8:43 am

      Lael – Now I do too! 🙂

  14. Barbara Kiebel — January 28, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

    I loved in the south for 10 yrs so am familiar with the pee-can version but us midwesterners (from St. Louis originally) pronounce more like Lana’s version. Funny how one little nut can have such variants depending on geography.

    I wish I had the recipe listed but this post was a part of the series for those of us with Dorie Greenspan’s newest book and we’ve committed to not publishing the recipe but I loved these. Sugar and spice…they’re in her book, ‘Around My French Table’ and yes, a bit addictive.

    The jars are adorable. Have you ever heard of – the most wonderful jars if you put foods up especially for gifts.

  15. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — January 28, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

    Yum! These look fabulous! And, I am totally a pe-kawn person. 🙂

  16. Aggie — January 29, 2011 @ 7:11 am

    I love pee-cans!! 😉 They are one of my favorites for sure. How lucky are you to have grown up with a tree right in your backyard! I love them spiced, but I love them even more just toasted and thrown into salads.

    Your jars are gorgeous!!

  17. Barbara Polat — January 31, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

    Please tell your husband that in Virginia, where I grew up, we took a pee-can with us in the boat when we went out on the Chesapeake in case “nature called.” I happen to have a bunch of pecans that were just given to me, and I’m going to try this recipe – if I can keep them away from the kids long enough!

  18. I am with you on how to pronounce pecan! There is nothing better than spicing up nuts and just munching on them. Love the combination you did and the jars are spectacular. Nice job!

  19. Yvonne — January 17, 2014 @ 1:48 pm

    I pronounce pecans as puh-kawns, but Jimmy Carter says that it’s correct to pronounce them as pee-lawns, pee-cans or puh-kawns…different strokes, huh? I’m originally from Atlanta, so puh-kawns sounds right to me. I currently live in Spokane, WA, and most people here say pee-cans. Anyway, nice blog. I grew up with pecan trees, plus peach, apple, plum, pear and persimmon in Atlanta. My favorite roasted pecan is simply made with unsalted butter and kosher or sea salt which I make often during the holidays. We have a restaurant here in Spokane that makes Caesar salad with cumin pecans that are neither spicy or sweet. I love the combination of the simple cumin pecans with the parmesan and Caesar dressing.

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