I have to say, I was a little nervous about making my own jam. I’m not sure why, I mean the main ingredients are sugar and strawberries .. How could you be scared of 2 main ingredients. But all I could think about was the correct timings, the boiling point, and if it would actually taste anything like jam! Turns out, it’s not as scary as I though! *Phew* And I actually had great fun making my very first batch of jam. Now, as always, when I try something new I did a lot of research, and found I needed to make a much small quantity as I only had tiny jam pots (cute or what!) So this recipe makes five 8oz jars of strawberry jam. (For the jam jars, check out Lakeland‘s selection of all things jam making!)
- 550g hulled strawberries
- 375g jam sugar
- the juice of half a lemon
- small knob of butter (optional)
- Prepare the strawberries by wiping them with a piece of damp kitchen paper. (Wiping the strawberries rather than washing them ensures the fruit doesn’t absorb lots of water – too much water and the jam won’t set easily.) To hull the fruit, use a knife to cut a cone shape into the strawberry and remove the stem.
- Put the strawberries in a saucepan or a preserving pan and add the sugar and the lemon juice.
- Before starting the jam, put 2 saucers in the freezer. This will be used later if you don’t have a thermometer, as you can spoon a little jam onto one of the cold saucers, leave for 30 secs and then push with your finger; if the jam wrinkles and doesn’t flood to fill the gap, it is ready.
- Set the strawberries and sugar over a low heat and cook very gently until you can no longer feel any grains of sugar remaining. If any sugar remains on the sides of the pan, dip a pastry brush in hot water and brush the sugar away.
- When you can no longer feel any grains of sugar remaining, turn up the heat to start bubbling the jam and bringing it to the boil.
- Boil hard for 5-10 mins until the jam has reached 105C on a preserving or digital thermometer, then turn off the heat. If you don’t have a thermometer, bring out the cold saucer from the freezer and do the test above. If it isn’t ready, turn the heat back on and boil for 2 mins more, then turn off the heat and do the wrinkle test again. Repeat until ready.
- Use a spoon to skim any scum that has risen to the surface and discard this. Do this only once at the end, rather than constantly during the boiling stage, to reduce wastage.
- Add a knob of butter, if you like, to the finished jam, and stir in to melt. This will help to dissolve any remaining scum that you haven’t managed to spoon off the top.
- Leave the jam to settle for 15 mins – this will ensure that the fruit stays suspended in the mixture and doesn’t all float to the top of the jam jar. Meanwhile, sterilise your jars by boiling a kettle and pouring water in each of the jars and on the jam lids.
- Ladle into warm jars, filling to just below the rim.
- Place a wax disc on top of the jam as this prevents mildew forming, then cover with a lid or a cellophane circle and elastic band. Pop on a label (include the date), plus a pretty fabric top, if you want to add a girlie touch!
The jam can be stored for up to 1 year in a cool, dry place but remember to keep it refrigerated after opening. It tastes delicious on toast, so why not make a fresh Farmhouse Loaf to accompany your homemade jam, or even some fresh homemade croissants. They also make really nice gifts – for a Mother’s Day idea, why not create a hamper for your mum with all her favourite homemade treats? Jams, macaroons, chocolates, the list is endless and I’m sure something homemade will be greatly appreciated. Keep an eye out for my Mothers Day inspired post on all things sweet, perfect for a little hamper of goodies. And if that isn’t enough, check out these health guides on Strawberries (source: BBC Good Foods): Nutritional highlights:
- Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamins C and K as well as providing a good dose of fibre, folic acid, manganese and potassium. They also contain significant amounts of phytonutrients and flavanoids which makes strawberries bright red. T
- hey have been used throughout history in a medicinal context to help with digestive ailments, teeth whitening and skin irritations.
- Their fibre and fructose content may help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing digestion and the fibre is thought to have a satiating effect.
- Leaves can be eaten raw, cooked or used to make tea.
- The vibrant red colour of strawberries is due to large amounts of anthocyanidin, which also means they contain powerful antioxidants and are thought to protect against inflammation, cancer and heart disease
What is your favourite jam? Have you tried to make your own?