Strawberry Jam to die for!
You’ll never buy strawberry jam again!
My Mum would make jam all summer long. Coming home after school I’d open the front door to intoxicating clouds of sweet fruitiness and a hot sticky Mum. The glorious products of her day’s labour would be lined up on the bench, glistening like jewels. Sweetest strawberry brightly scarlet, intense crimson raspberry, deeply dark purple boysenberry – my favourite.
And that was just the berries! There was the delicious sharpness of blackcurrant or the greenish tartness of gooseberry jams, glowing golden peach or almond studded apricot or pinky nectarine. Red currant jelly glowed like stained glass, or rarer still the pretty pink of crab-apple or Japonica jelly.
Each glass jam jar, covered with it’s perfectly concave cellophane, secured with a rubber band and neatly labelled. Soon to join their companion bottled fruit in our floor to ceiling jam cupboard, a treasure trove of our garden’s summer abundance, to be revelled in through-out the long cold winter.
Over the years I’ve never stopped making jam, it’s so quick and easy, even in small quantities, and it tastes infinitely better than even the most expensive of bought ones. I’m always amazed at how astonished people are when I say I make my own jam – clearly like saying I can fly to most people.
But I can guarantee that making this recipe really is so easy and so quick – you’ll wonder why you never tried it before! You don’t need any special equipment and you can make it with just two punnets of strawberries. There are a couple of variations you can try too, Strawberry and Vanilla Jam and Strawberry Jam with Cointreau. Sounds good, right?
By using a commercial pectin, you don’t have to boil the jam for long, keeping the colour and flavour fresh and bright.
Quick Strawberry Jam
- 2x punnets of strawberries – 500gm / 1lb
- 400gm white sugar
- juice ½ lemon
- small knob of butter (optional, helps keep foam down)
- 3 tsp/15gm Jamsetta, a setting agent (pectin) in powder form.
- 2 small glass jars with screw top lids
- Wash jars and lids thoroughly & dry, place jars in a warm 150 °C oven to sterilise.
- Measure sugar and place in oven dish to warm up. Place a saucer in the freezer to chill.
- Rinse fruit, cut off leaves and cut into chunks, very small berries can be left whole.
- Place in a large saucepan, and mash up the berries a bit to release some juices. Bring to simmer on low and simmer 5-10 minutes until fruit is completely soft.
- Add the warmed sugar, lemon juice, the butter if using and the pectin, and bring to the boil slowly.
- Then boil for 5-10 minutes, stirring often. Be careful not to burn it on the bottom of the pan.
- Take off the heat and put about a dessertspoon on the saucer in the freezer and put back to chill for a minute. To test whether it’s set, push a finger through the jam, it’s set enough if it forms a wrinkled skin, and stays apart ( doesn’t run back together).
- If it’s ready, skim off any foam from the surface. Give the jam a stir to distribute the fruit evenly and pour into a heated jug. Fill hot jars and screw lids down firmly.Label.
- If it’s still too runny, and remember it will firm up more as it cools – put back on to boil & boil another 5 minutes. Repeat setting test.
- To make a larger quantity, just keep the proportions about the same – so for a kilo of berries, I would use about 800-850gm of sugar. If you can only get 250gm of strawberries, use about 190gm of sugar. Traditionally equal quantities of sugar to fruit were used, but I like to cut the sweetness a little.
No need to wait – you can eat this jam straight away! But once opened, keep in the fridge in warm weather.
To make Strawberry & Vanilla Jam, scrap the seeds from half a vanilla pod, drop in all in with the fruit, and follow recipe as above. Don’t forget to fish out the pod before putting the jam into jars.
For Strawberry & Cointreau Jam, add ¼ cup of Cointreau and the finely grated rind of 1 small orange to the fruit once it’s come to a boil, follow rest of recipe.