Strawberries always tasted amazing when I was a child. In those days, I would bite into an overfilled strawberry jam sandwich and recite my favourite lines from Edward Lear’s nonsense poem, The Quangle Wangle’s Hat.
‘Jam; and jelly; and bread;
‘Are the best food for me!
I would grin and lick the red syrupy preserve from my fingers and repeat those lines over and over.
Our neighbour supplied us with jam and although I enjoyed her homemade delights for years, I only began jamming when I took on an allotment last year. Yesterday, I picked 5kg of the yummy organic fruit and this morning, I woke up to a house filled with the fragrance of ripe berries.
I love big chunks of fruit in my jam especially for the quintessentially British cream tea. Memories of hazy, lazy summer days are made from picnic baskets filled with freshly baked scones ready for a slathering of cream and a dollop of this soft spreadable condiment.
There is almost no pectin in this fruit so if you really want a firm set, you may wish to use jam sugar or add pectin. I prefer to use lemons.
Strawberry Jam Recipe
Makes 4 x 450ml jars
2.5kg ripe home grown or organic strawberries
Juice of 3 organic lemons
Place a saucer in the freezer.
Hull the strawberries and chop off any rotten bits. Set aside about 10 of the smallest berries, then squash the rest into a rough pulp.
Put into a wide, stainless steel pan, then add sugar and lemon juice, and bring to the boil. Add the strawberries that have been set aside to the mix.
Boil for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring regularly checking the setting point every minute or so during the last 5 minutes.
To do this, take the cold saucer out of the freezer, put a little jam on it, and put it back in to cool for a couple of minutes. If a skin forms skin and wrinkles when you push it with your finger, then it’s done.
Remove pan from the ring and skim off any scum. Pour into warmed sterilised jars and seal.
Jam can be stored in a cool dark place for up to a year.
Jam making tips and more recipes for preserves can be found here.