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Saturday, 9 April 2011

Smug Strawberry Jam

Making your own jam is mainly for the smug factor, so you can say to people "The jam's home-made by the way" whilst waiting for the adulation to pour in. There are a lot of other benefits too, but oh, the smugness is definitely the best part. And it's so easy to do... All you need is right here:

A pack of sugar, 2 punnets of strawberries, half a lemon and only 4 minutes of boiling. Amazing.

The quantity is enormous - the last bunch lasted in my fridge for about a year - and I gave half of it away at the beginning.

Makes 1 litre of jam (2 of these)

2 or 3 punnets of strawberries (between 800g - 1kg)
The same weight in Jam Sugar as strawberries
Half a lemon

Alright, so maybe that's all you need in ingredients, but it's a fairly common belief  you need a lot of equipment right? Not really, as I discovered after I bought a lot of preserving stuff. Whoops! It's a simple as a wooden spoon, a large saucepan, some jars. And a lot of kitchen roll, 'cause making jam's messy and sticky!

I don't want to scare you with how difficult it seems - so here are the basic instructions to show you how few steps there are:

Quick Instructions
  • Hull your strawberries
  • Place into a pan with the lemon juice and sugar
  • Heat gently till all the sugar has melted
  • Bring to the boil and keep stirring for 4 minutes till set
  • Leave to cool for 15 minutes, then remove the scum
  • Pour into jars - leave to cool.

However, if you've never made jam before you might want a little bit more information - so here are the same instructions with a bit of advice and information from me.

Instructions for beginners

  • Put a small side plate into your fridge or freezer for testing the setting point of jam. 
  • Hull, and slice your strawberries to size. It depends how many fruity bits you like in your jam and how large your strawberries are. I find Tescos to have huge strawberries which I halved and sometimes cut into thirds. But greengrocers generally have smaller, sweeter strawberries. I let the smaller strawberries go in whole. Bigger pieces of strawberries and whole strawberries = more fruity bits.
  • Weigh your strawberries and then weigh your sugar. If you've eaten some of my latest jam - you'll know it's far too sweet, that's because I couldn't bear to throw 200g of sugar away so I may have slipped a little more in. Next time I'll buy 3 punnets of strawberries.
  • Juice the lemon half, and place into a large saucepan - the wider the saucepan the easier it is.
  • Throw in the sugar, and the strawberries and put the pan onto a medium - low heat
  • Stir, stir, stir, till all the sugar has melted
  • (Are you sure it's all melted? It's not grainy at all?)
  • Turn the heat up, bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 4 minutes while stirring regularly!
  • Get your plate out and test the setting point - keep cooking and testing till it's ready.
  • Then take off the heat and leave to cool for 15 - 20 minutes
  • While it's cooling, sterilise your jam jars
  • You're going to need to remove the 'scum' from the jam now. Scum is impurities from jam and sugar, and it's easy to spot. The more 'scum' you remove the clearer your jam will be. All the fruit had risen to the top of mine, and mixed in with them were some white frothy bits - aka scum. I found the easiest way to get rid of them was a large sharp edged metal spoon to pick them out, and put them into kitchen roll. You're not going to clear all the scum this way unless you have an hour to spare- but just remember, a little bit wont effect the taste, just the look of the jam.
  • Then, pot your jam, and seal the jars. Leave to cool.
See Also: Scones

1 comment:

  1. Hey! Great recipe! I tried it today and it taste fantastic! Noticed your comment about removing the scum - I learnt a trick a while ago where you add a lump of butter as it nears the end of the oiling period. The scum will miraculously disappear! Try it! It's awesome and makes the process of putting its not jars a lot to quicker! Enjoy! - Sarah