Having seen a box of my yummy strawberries going cheap I just had to buy them and decided that those jars I’d been collecting must now go to good jam making use. So which recipe would I use. I studied Delia, Felicity Cloake and foody forums to come up the following recipe. Basically you need the freshest strawberries you can find and if you have a few under ripe ones even better as they have more pectin in them. My strawberries were quite ripe so not only did I add the juice of a lemon (high in pectin) but I also threw in the lemon skin which is also a good source of pectin.
I studied the debate on wax discs and after failing to get hold of any at short notice I relaxed when experienced jam makers said that they did not use them, plus I think it will be eaten long before it could go off. All important is the sterilisation of the jars and the cleanliness of the deep pan and spoons etc that you use. I put my jars and lids through the dishwasher and then heated the jars for 20 minutes in the oven at 120°C. The jam must go into hot jars. For the lids I poured boiling water over them at the last minute, removed with tongs and shook dry before placing on the filled pots. If you want to make a larger quantity then doubling up would be fine but any more and the setting becomes more problematic as you have to boil the jam for much longer which affects the quality.
My family’s verdict on my jam was unanimous – it was the best jam they had ever had! So don’t delay, get down to your local fruit farm, allotment, back garden, market or supermarket and make some jam, you won’t regret it.
What is your favourite jam? How would you use up your jars of strawberry jam? I posed this question to Nigel Slater on Twitter and he said he was fond of old fashioned jam tarts!
After leaving the strawberries and sugar overnight you remove 10 strawberries and mash the rest gently. Then return the whole strawberries back to the pan.
After heating gently to dissolve the sugar crystals, you add the juice and skin of a lemon and boil rapidly for 8 minutes.
To test for setting, put a teaspoon of jam on a chilled saucer and allow to cool. If it crinkles when pushed with a finger and doesn’t ooze liquid, it is ready.
Next remove the lemon skin and add butter to help remove any scum.
To pot up the jam use hot sterised jars and a jam funnel or small ladle. Seal immediately with a lid.
Now get the kettle on and bring out the scones and clotted cream – yummy!
- 900 g / 2lb Strawberries
- 700 g / 1 ½lb Preserving sugar
- 1 Large lemon juiced + skin
- 10 g / ½ oz Butter
- The night before you need to pat the strawberries clean with a damp kitchen towel – do not wash or the jam will not set. Discard any bruised ones.
- Layer the strawberries in a large heavy based pan with the preserving sugar and give a gentle stir before you go to bed. This helps firm up the strawberries.
- The next day put 10 small strawberries aside and then using a potato masher crush the remaining strawberries gently.
- Put 4 small plates in the freezer (to test for the set later).
- Put the 10 strawberries back into the pan and gently heat the pan to slowly dissolve the sugar. Check with a spoon that all crystals have dissolved.
- Now bring the pan to a rolling boil and add the juice of a lemon and ½ the skin (washed if waxed).
- Time for exactly 8 minutes then take off the heat.
- Put a teaspoon of jam on the plate and allow to cool completely.
- Push the jam with your finger and if it crinkles, sits proud and doesn’t ooze liquid then it is set.
- If not, boil for another 3 minutes and retest and so on until set.
- Stir in the butter which will help to remove any foam.
- Pot up the jam into the hot jars using either a sterilised jam funnel or I used a sterilised small fruit ladle which worked well holding the jars with a small oven proof square or a folded tea towel.
- Put lids on immediately or use wax discs and cellophane lids with elastic bands and allow to cool before labelling.