I grow fugly fruit. There, I said it, and it’s true. My strawberries are not going to feature in any food photography, and since they were a little tart too, the best thing to do was turn them into delicious Strawberry Jam.
Jam isn’t too difficult to make, particularly if you use specialised Jam Sugar. This contains pectin, which is what will help your Jam to set.
Some fruit contains more pectin than others, so it’s handy to use jam sugar, if you don’t want soft set (annoyingly runny) Jam.
I wasn’t organised enough to get jam sugar in, I just had regular granulated, so I juiced a fresh lemon and added that to the mix; lemon being high in pectin.
Your quantities will be equal amounts of sugar to fruit, in my case 1kg of both (about 2lbs in old money) but since I was a little short of this in strawberries I made it up with raspberries, the ones I picked before the birds.
First things first, sterilise your jars. 1kg of fruit will give you about 4 pots of Jam. I sterilised mine first in boiled water and then in the microwave. The metallic lids were immersed in boiling water.
1kg of strawberries
1kg of sugar (preferably Jam sugar)
Juice of one lemon
I also added a capful of vanilla essence and a capful of rose essence. Whatever floats your boat, I think cardamom would also have worked very well.
Wash and hull the strawberries
Transfer your fruit to a large heavy bottomed saucepan, gently heat the strawberries and lemon juice before adding the sugar and flavours (if you are using them)
The sugar will dissolve very quickly and you now want to bring this to a boil.
Be careful – sugar boils at a higher temperature than water, a jap from this could give a nasty burn.
You will see that the boiling creates a froth on top. This would make your Jam cloudy, so remove this with a metal spoon.
If using jam sugar, boil for about 6 minutes. If using ordinary sugar, it will take much longer to reach setting point.
A good way to tell is by using a cold plate. Drop a small spoonful onto the plate and when it has cooled enough push your finger over the top. If the jam forms a slight wrinkle, you are good to go.
Let the jam cool for a moment and bask in the amazing aroma that is now filling your house. This is your ‘domestic Goddess’ moment, use it to full effect.
Filling the jars
This is easier with a funnel but not impossible without. Just watch out for splashes.
Fill the jars up to the neck and put a little waxed paper disk on top (if you want to keep your jam for any length of time) then put cellophane or the jar lid on top – depending on what you are using. Keeping it airtight will help it’s lifespan.
Now all you have to do is let it cool, and enjoy.
Did someone say Victoria Sponge? … oh baby!