Strawberry jam: my turn

I keep reading about other people making strawberry jam, and since it’s the peak of the season right now, I’ve made time (supported by grouse family) to make some myself. I’ve taken inspiration from Rhonda, in particular her jam post from 2009, and since starting to make it, noticed Clare’s post from Friday (and nicked Eva’s picture since I neglected to take one).

We went to the local farmer’s market on Sunday morning, and bought a tray of ‘jam’ (i.e. cheap) strawberries and a bag of (tart, green) Granny Smith apples just in case pectin was unavailable. Sure enough, the local shop didn’t have any, so I pulled up this recipe and mostly followed it. The resulting 1.5 cups just looked like slightly thick apple juice, but I trusted that it was useful pectin.

Pectin Recipe

  • Wash and cut up (but don’t peel or core) 6 small, tart, green apples
  • Put the apple pieces in a pot with two cups of water and a tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Boil for 40 minutes, then strain through a clean tea-towel, then boil for another 20 minutes
  • Throw the pulp into the compost bin
Shamelessly taken from Clare's blog

Pic taken by Eva. She’s three. I’m as impressed as her mother.

Now I have pectin – and I wanted pectin because if I’m going to the trouble of making jam, it will jolly well set! Adding that to Rhonda’s recipe (2009 jam post link above) I came up with my own recipe. The tray of strawberries was a smidge under 4kg, so after we ate some, gave some to neighbours and put some in the fridge for the week, we had 2kg to cook.

Strawberry Jam Recipe

  • 1.94kg strawberries. Wash the fruit and cut off the green top. Don’t used any soft, rotting or damaged bits; cut that part out and give it to the chooks. Cut the fruit to an equal size – small strawberries whole, giant ones into four.
  • 1.6kg sugar. Pour sugar over the fruit and stir it through, then leave it for an hour. This will start to release the juice from the strawberries and start to soften them. (The sugar helps preserve the jam as well as adding sweetness. I will use less next time because the jam is very sweet.)
  • 1.5 cups pectin (which I reckon would do for 3-4kg of strawberries but I used it all). Pour in the pectin, and gently bring the pot to the boil. Then turn it down to a gently rolling boil.
  • Now the long bit: I stirred every ten to fifteen minutes and tested setting a few drops on a ceramic dish sitting in the freezer. This required patience because for at least the first 45 minutes it was not showing any signs of setting. I also regularly removed the scum that rose to the top, aided by a tea strainer.
  • Meanwhile, I put my clean jars and lids in the oven on 150°C to sterilise them.
  • Then when the cold dish (wiped and returned to the freezer between tests) slightly set some, I got excited and started stirring more often and testing every ten minutes. I didn’t want it to catch on the bottom, nor turn to solid goop. I also turned off the oven to let the jars start to cool slightly.
  • When my patience had finally paid off and the mix was setting nicely, I frantically searched for – and found – a funnel with a wide opening. Scooping the jam into the jars (leaving 6mm headspace) was then very easy.

  • We ended up with roughly 2kg of jam. Cost: About $8 total.
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