Strawberries. We cannot get enough of them over the summer months can we? But if anyone else’s house is anything like mine, there will always be bruised or, for want of a better word, ‘ugly’ strawberries left at the end of the week that normally end up going to waste. This week I decided to make up a batch of strawberry jam to use up a lot of the extra strawberries we had, as this is a staple that’s always good to have in the fridge or is something that can be given to friends as gifts for any last-minute barbecue invitations!
This recipe doesn’t use jam sugar (that has added pectin) but it still thickens up nicely, and has the same taste as any shop-bought jam, so don’t be put off by that!
Ingredients (Makes 2 Medium Sized Jars of Jam)
500g Strawberries (washed, hulled and cut into halves)
½ Cup Water
350g Caster Sugar
Juice of 1 Lemon
Knob of Butter
Firstly, it is important that you sterilise the jam jars you are going to be using, to ensure that the jam stays preserved for as long as possible once you’ve made it. To do this, wash your jars in hot soapy water, rinsing off any bubbles with hot water. Lay a few sheets of newspaper on to a baking tray and place your jars rim down on the newspaper, with their lids next to them. Make sure none of the glass is touching each other, place the baking tray in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4, so both the oven and jars heat up together. Leave the jars in the oven for about half an hour (Minimum Time = 20mins, Maximum Time = 50mins). After they have been in the oven for the set amount of time, remove the jars, being careful not to touch the glass or lids, and leave on the side to cool down.
Alternatively, you can wash your jars in a dishwasher on a hot cycle in order to sterilize them.
So, now that’s done we can get on with making the jam!
Place all your hulled and halved strawberries into a large heavy-bottomed pan along with the water and simmer over a medium heat until the strawberries are soft and a kind of pulp is formed.
Take the pan off the heat, stir in the sugar and the lemon juice and then put back onto a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is boiling.
Now I leave the mixture to simmer and bubble away for another 30-60 minutes, until the jam has thickened up and it has reached the consistency that you are looking for. Through this time, make sure you occasionally stir the mixture so that it does not burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.
*Just before you take the jam off the heat, add the small knob of butter, and allow it to melt, as this should cause any scum on the top of the pan to dissolve!
Once the jam has reached your desired consistency, take it off the heat and leave it to cool down, before spooning the jam into your sterilised jars. It is important to make sure the jam is cool before putting it into the cool jam jars, as to add hot jam to cool jars (or vice versa) may cause the jars to shatter, which could be dangerous.
Once this has been done, seal and label your jars before leaving them to cool completely and storing in a cool, dry place.