In the jar with … Strawberry Vanilla Bean Conserve

“Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did” 

William Allen Butler

I don’t think there ever was or can be a more luscious, a more colourful and a more passionate berry than the strawberry. It’s beautifully shaped… c’mon, how many more berries would give us perfect hearts on being cross sectioned? Each time I see them, my heart skips a beat.
I’ve done loads of strawberry stuff this season, and would have happily done loads more had I not felt guilty of dessert overdose. I think strawberries are the perfect dessert ingredient, and compliment most cheeses and tropical fruit. Strawberries in pastry, in cake, in scones, in salad, in cream, with OJ, in a parfait, as ice cream sauce … infinite options and each charmingly different in it’s own way.
With little boxes of these colourful berries flooding the market, I can’t stop myself from buying them. So I bought 4 more little boxes the other day. The daughter loves her PB and J sandwich and goes through jars of peanut butter (home-made of course as Barbara would ask…),  and jam quite rapidly. She slaps on a sandwich (brown bread is the only bread I buy) when she gets back from school, and if in a good mood, does one for her ever doting kid brother too.

The other day she scraped out the last remaining bit of the store bought jam from the jar, and I knew what I wanted to make next! Most searches on the net led to the same strawberry conserve recipe so that was decided. It was a great recipe on many fronts, primarily because it doesn’t pressurise you to make the jam immediately. I made a few changes like adding a vanilla bean to bring out a slightly different flavour, using vanilla sugar instead of regular sugar, and increasing lime juice in the recipe from 2 limes to 3.

In the recipe, these very delicate and perishable fruit is layered with sugar, lime juice added and is allowed to rest for 24 hours. BLISS! Takes the pressure right off. I loved it because I was really pressed for time, and was afraid the strawberries would spoil if they weren’t put to use very soon. Next day, a five minute simmer after a boil, and rest again… and then things are pretty much under control. By day 3, I was quite eager to begin the jam making process and the conserve was finally ready! It did take about an hour on simmer before it reached setting point, but was super easy to make.
Got 3 nice jars of conserve, and am enjoying using it. Have made some delicious Double Chocolate Strawberry Energy Bars with it (yet to post recipe). Also used some in my last post of Strawberry, Chocolate & Mascarpone Cakelets. This is a nice way to preserve extra strawberries, and I dare say that if you have the time, the jam can well be made the same day like I did the Bitter Orange Marmalade here. A friend of mine makes it like I make marmalade, and it works just fine she says. I find the luxury of additional time very therapeutic in some way!

Strawberry Vanilla Bean Conserve
adapted from here
1 kg of either very small strawberries or halved hulled larger strawberries
1 kg granulated vanilla sugar (or regular sugar)
1 vanilla bean, split
Juice of 3 limes (or 1 lemon)


Place alternate layers of strawberries and sugar into a bowl; add the lime juice and vanilla bean, cover and leave to stand overnight. (Make sure the bean is submerged in the liquid to help infuse well.
Next day, transfer the fruit and sugar to a pan, bring slowly to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour back into the bowl, cover and leave again for another day.
Finally, transfer to a pan, bring to the boil and simmer until setting point is reached. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little until the fruit begins to sink in the syrup. Stir and pour into small, hot sterilized jars and cover immediately.

Makes about 1.5 kgs of conserve.

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About me: I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Food is my passion - baking, cooking, developing recipes, making recipes healthier, using fresh seasonal produce and local products, keeping a check on my carbon footprint and being a responsible foodie! I enjoy food styling, food photography, recipe development and product reviews. I express this through my food photographs which I style and the recipes I blog. My strength lies in 'Doing Food From Scratch'; it must taste as good as it looks, and be healthy too. Baking in India, often my biggest challenge is the non-availability of baking ingredients, and this has now become a platform to get creative on. I enjoy cooking immensely as well.


  1. the wicked noodle says:

    Oh Deeba, you've outdone yourself (and I never dreamed that was possible)! This looks just heavenly!

  2. Amanda says:

    Absolutely beautiful photos!

  3. MaryMoh says:

    Wow….looks awesome, Deeba. I would put on bread, biscuits, pancakes, ice creams etc etc. I can't wait for summer to be here when there'll be lots of strawberries. Thanks for sharing.

  4. arundati says:

    looks glorious…. have been eyeing strawberries for weeks now and at the fag end of the season, finally got a few boxes… made some of my favourite strawberry banana icecream… jam looks simply wow….

  5. Asha @ FSK says:

    Ah! You made the jam the classic way like we pickle!! :)) gorgeous as always!: )

  6. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    That jam must have a delightful flavor! stunning shots!



  7. Federica says:

    ciao! è sempre un piacere passare nel tuo blog..è favoloso!!! baci!

  8. Brent says:

    Above all, amazing photography! well done. I look forward to trying the recipe as well. PS, my source for vanilla is Beanilla Trading Company…. they ship world-wide and can be found at

    Thanks again for the fantastic post.

  9. Sarah, Maison Cupcake says:

    Where do you find this light…. these pictures look amazing, I am so envious as it's still very gloomy here.

    Strawberry jam with vanilla sounds lovely. I am trying to train Ted to eat pb and jam sandwiches but he's been rejecting them!!!

  10. La Table De Nana says:

    First of all the photos are so earthy and enchanting..
    Next of all:) Vanilla bean! A stroke of genius..this summer when I am making my will have this.!I could sleep w/ a vanilla bean I like them so much.

  11. Muneeba says:

    I would slather this on buttermilk biscuits *swoon*. By the way, love that you make home-made PB for your kids! That's the kind of mom I aspire to be, truly, but I think I suffer from an acute case of procrastination and laziness 😉

  12. Rambling Tart says:

    Deeba, your posts make me so happy! The clarity and whimsy and vibrant color are pure bliss. :-)

  13. ButterYum says:

    Be still my heart – I can't wait to try this!


  14. Bellini Valli says:

    You have more energy than I could ever imagine Deeba. Beautiful as always:D

  15. What a beautiful post Deeba. It left me with a wonderful spring feeling. All those colours, fresh green and red! Oh, I love it.
    I'm also a big fan of brown bread. I so much don't like the British white toast bread. Ugh!
    I can imagine a great breakfast with your strawberry conserve spread over slice of brown bread. Yummy! :)

  16. Barbara Bakes says:

    What lovely little gifts these would be! I'm going to have to start jam making!

  17. Lovely Deeba!! Nothing like fresh, hot toast smeared with some great conserve on any morning!!

  18. Marcellina says:

    I really like the addition of vanilla bean. It must be devine! I make my strawberry jam in the microwave and it is easy, doesn't burn and retains a bright colour. I can't wait for winter when that is our strawberry season! YUM!

  19. I love strawberry. In fact I am awaiting the winter strawberry to come out in Australia. They are delicious. And I will remember you and this recipe!

  20. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Wow, that strawberry jam sounds amazing with the addition of vanilla bean!

  21. zurin says:

    u r making me want to make jam out of everything…ur bottles are super gorgeous…U have such a way with decorations and fruits Deeba! beautiful.

  22. A cupcake or two says:

    Deeba your photographs are amazing. Strawberry jam is my number 1 favourite. Everything looks gorgeous.

  23. MeetaK says:

    i am still waiting for strawberry season to come to germany! i see them in stores already but am so resisting to buy them right now. you make it more difficult. love strawberry jam and make tons of in in season! love this!

  24. Bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets) says:

    This is sublime Deeba!I love the flavors can't wait till season is here!

  25. Shabs.. says:

    Hi deeba..
    the pics are beautiful as ever…loved that cake in teh center….Then i also made jam last week, just with 1/4 kilo of strawberries just to test. Made with the same recipes, but reduce sugar to half. And still it was way too sweet for me:(. And regarding the limes, you know,the limes we get here in UK are so big, probably, three-four Indian limes would make 1 Uk lime. I dint follow the slow method, did it quick all on the same day,but it was great.:)

  26. Aparna says:

    Can see you have a "thing" for strawberries. Can't say I blame you. I made some into jam too. And have some more "strawberry plans" before the seasons out!

  27. Murasaki Shikibu says:

    Very nice Deeba. I used to put strawberry jam in my tea. :)

  28. cacahuete says:

    Your blog is all about perfection. I absolutely love it.

  29. Natashya KitchenPuppies says:

    Wonderful! And the photos are beautiful. I love how you incorporated some past strawberry creations.

  30. What a wonderful blog!! I love the pics and the recipes and the light inside it. Where do you find that gorgeous light? OMG!! It's the first time I visit you but not the last one, sure!!
    Have a nice week-end!!!

  31. noble pig says:

    Okay your photos are just beautiful and delightful…love the strawberry, anything strawberry.!

  32. Chef Chuck says:

    Thank you for sharing, Strawberries are my favorite!

  33. That sounds wonderful!

  34. Kerstin says:

    Mmm, looks fabulous and reminds me of summer!

  35. Kitchen Butterfly says:

    Looks lovely…….and great ideas when we start getting floods of strawberries in a few months. I like the 3-day plan too…..

  36. Kajal - Aapplemint says:

    Oh Deeba your pictures are so gorgeous. the strawberry jam jars look so beautiful, so have to send me one 😛 . I hear there's been a strawberry overload this season. Mom keeps askin me what do i do, I wish you were here … lol. I'm fwding her you website !!

  37. Kajal - Aapplemint says:

    Oh Deeba your pictures are so gorgeous. the strawberry jam jars look so beautiful, so have to send me one 😛 . I hear there's been a strawberry overload this season. Mom keeps askin me what do i do, I wish you were here … lol. I'm fwding her you website !!

  38. Cristie says:

    I've made 100's of bottles of jam, but a conserve– well, never even thought to do that! Thank you so much for the recipe and know how. Can't wait to give it a try. I love the square bottle.

  39. Julia @Mélanger says:

    You are right, there's not much better than the strawberry. This conserve looks great, of course! :)

  40. Trissa says:

    I love the idea of adding vanilla – I must admit I have never tried it with vanilla before but am very intrigued and interested to try it.

  41. Manggy says:

    Oh, I can only wish to have such an abundance of strawberries. I'm seriously craving them here.

  42. Shabs.. says:

    Deeba….i want you urgent reply for this request.We are celebrating our sons third bday on coming weekend. Iam planning to bake a cake and do icing myself (if time permits). Iam planning to do a chocolate butter cream icing. DO you think it will be OK to ice the cake 2 days before the event?or should it be done on the day?Will it alter the taste if i ice it 2 days before?..And how many days will a cake stay fresh?…….Pls reply as soon as possible….Sorry for bothering and thx in advance.

  43. Ju (The Little Teochew) says:

    Stunning! I am transported to a beautiful summer's day in an enchanted garden just looking at your gorgeous photos!!

  44. Dinners and Dreams says:

    I love all kinds of homemade jams. This one looks delicious as do the photos.


  45. Divina Pe says:


  46. Kitchen Butterfly says:

    Guess what I'm having….this minute. On toast! Yep, this preserve….uh hmm, I made it before we went on holiday and it is wonderful. Very fruity taste…….my 6 year old daughter is looking forward to having some after school!

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