Sunday, 10 July 2011

Strawberry Jam!

For the first time ever, we've had enough strawberries to make strawberry jam with our own fruit! A few times last year we picked quite a few, but they all got eaten pretty much straight away. This year they've come through in small batches, and not been quite so 'perfect' probably because of the dry spell, so it didn't feel quite so sacrilegious to make jam. I've kind of given up with using small jars to pot up jams and chutney, so tend to use these bigger kilner jars now, I find them easier to wash up and store in the store cupboard and then in the fridge when they've been opened. I usually do a smaller spare jar too when I sterilise for any 'overflow' and if I fill both of those I stick the rest in a ramekin or another unsterilised jar and we use it straight away.

First batch (on the left) I made the 'traditional' way, and threw in the 15 gooseberries that had set the bushes this year - it's the first year they have fruited so wasn't expecting much of a crop, and I also put in the contents of a pink grapefruit, to help the set, you can't taste either in the finished product. It did set OK, strawberry jam can be tricky to get to reach setting point, but for the second batch, to make sure, I bought jam sugar, which has apple pectin added. I've never used it before, and was really surprised at the short processing time. Once the jam has come to the boil it gets just four minutes at a bubbling boil, and that's all. You must then pot it straight away.

It certainly keeps a fresh colour in the jam (jars on the right) but I thought the texture a little bit odd. It tastes very fresh and fruity though, but I am wondering if the short boiling will affect the keeping properties? Not that anything tasty lasts long in this house!

I only had blackberry and apple jam from last autumn to offer the guests as home-made, so it will be nice to have something else to offer, and as the growing season marches forward, I hope there will be some other fruit about to make jam with.


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