When British Strawberries are in season don't buy jam....make your own!
Last year was the first time I had made jam and I wish I had started earlier in the year to take advantage of the summer fruits, but I didn't think about it until the very end of the strawberry season. Anyway, when I saw an offer on at the local garden centre for a large pan I thought I would give it a go.
It was a learning curve for me though and at first it was too runny and wouldn't set...I was ready to give up and throw the lot away! After a bit of research I discovered that it was ok to add more sugar to help it to set. So if you find this is a problem for you too, don't hesitate in heating it back up and adding more sugar. I did this the following day after it didn't set overnight and it worked a treat and made for a delicious sweet jam.
Make sure you seal the jars properly and this jam will keep for months in a cool, dark place. Once opened keep in the fridge.
The recipe I used was by Delia Smith. Try this as a starting point and if it doesn't set then just add more sugar. This recipe is enough to make six x 450g jars of jam.
- 1.8kg (4lb) strawberries
- 1.3kg (3lb) sugar
- juice of 2 large lemons
- 10g (1/2oz) sugar
- Hull the strawberries and wipe with some kitchen paper, then layer them in the preserving pan, sprinkling them with the sugar as you go. Leave them like this overnight, by which time the sugar should have almost dissolved. The sugar will draw out the juices and help keep the fruit firm.
- Next morning, place the pan over a low heat just to melt the rest of the sugar and draw some of the juice out of the strawberries. Don't stir too much, just shake the pan now and again.
- When the sugar has dissolved add the lemon juice, turn up the heat and as soon as the jam is really bubbling, time it for 8 minutes and then remove it from the heat. Spoon a little onto a chilled plate, allow it to cool, then push it with your finger. If it forms a crinkly skin it is set. If not, boil it up for a further 4 minutes and repeat the test. You can do this as often as necessary.
- When you feel it is set remove from the heat, stir in a small lump of butter to disperse any scum, and allow the jam to settle for 15 mins before pouring it into dry clean jars. The jars must be sterilised - heat in a moderate oven for 15 mins.
- Seal immediately with waxed circles (available from Lakeland), this helps stop any mould forming, and pop on a lid.
Make some to store for yourself (the sugar will allow it to keep for months), and make some to give as Christmas presents - I made some other preserves and put together little hampers for presents. Add a fabric circle and tie with twine to make the jar more atttractive.
If you have any tried and tested recipes for preserves and jams then let me know!