A guest post by Erika from Eclectic Enhancements
My Dad loves to grow fruit and vegetables in his garden and he passed this love onto me, but I have a tiny garden and so space is limited. Dad on the other hand has lots of space and grows too much. As a solution to the worry he had about wasting what he was growing and because I have a tremendous love of it, I decided to put together a jam making kit. It contained everything in it we needed to spend the day making jam together. Our first effort was using market bought fruit, but Dad grows strawberries and raspberries among other things himself.
Our very first jam was Strawberry and my absolute favourite. The recipe we used is from the book I bought my Dad, The Preserving Book by Lynda Brown. (If you are interested in making jam at all, this book explains everything from equipment to recipes).
This recipe makes around 6 average jars of jam, (approximately 1KG), it will take roughly an hour and the finished product lasts for up to 9 months!
- 1KG strawberries, they need to be halved and hulled (the stalks taken out)
- 6 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 900g of granulated sugar & 5-6 tablespoons of strong pectin stock (this is made from apples and can be done at home) OR 900g of jam sugar.
For our first attempt Dad and I made some pectin stock and for our second batch, raspberry jam, we used jam sugar. Both turned out delicious.
- Using a big stainless steel saucepan, pop all of the strawberries and lemon juice onto the hob and cook on a gentle heat for about 5 -10 minutes. You learn quickly that this isn’t a science, a lot depends on how fresh your fruit is, the heat you use, size of the pan and so on. Once the berries have become soft you are ready for the next step.
- Add in the sugar and pectin stock (or the jam sugar if that is what you are using). Keep the heat on low and stir the moisture until the sugar has all dissolved.
- Bring to the boil and then cook for 15 minutes. You can be more precise by using the setting point for strawberry jam which is 105°C .
- You now need to test for a set. This is really easy, have a cold plate or saucer to hand (pop it in the freezer or fridge), pop a little of your hot jam onto the plate and leave for a minute. Prod the jam with your finger and if it wrinkles, it’s set!
- Now, once your jam has cooled slightly and you remove any surface scum, you can ladle it into sterilised jam jars. (Sterilise in a dishwasher or microwave). Cover with a wax seal/paper disc, pop on your lid and allow it to completely cool before opening!
Have you ever made strawberry jam?