The jam was a big hit with the co-workers. I have to admit, this jam is yummy! But I think I messed it up. I can’t taste the vanilla at all. It has a very bright, berry flavor that is absolutely yummy, but I don’t think it is because of the vanilla. I think 2 things went wrong.
1. I don’t think I let the vanilla bean “stew” in the berries long enough. Most of the recipes I found recommended letting them sit and meld flavors for at least 2 hours and up to 72. Since I wanted to make the jam that same day, I only let it sit for 2 hours. I also had another 1 3/4 cups of berries that I wanted to use, so I recalculated the recipe to include those, which brings us to problem number
2. I think I miscalculated the amount of lemon juice and put in almost twice as much as I needed. It does give the berries a really bright flavor and because of that, I think this may have been one of those fortuitous mistakes that I may leave in my regular Strawberry Jam recipe.
However, I’m going to have to make this recipe again, letting the vanilla sit with the berries for at least 24 hours to make sure we get the full effect of the vanilla. I may also try a batch with vanilla extract (pure, of course) to see what difference there is in the flavor, if any.
I’ve also been looking for sources for “pretty” jam jars to use next time. I found one that has hexagon shaped jars that can be water-bathed. They also have round (like a globe) canning jars, too. You can find them <here