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Strawberry Jam

December 6, 2009

Or, A Sticky Situation with a Vaguely Nautical Theme

Or, We’re jamming, jamming, And I hope you like jamming too…

There’s something incredibly soothing about strawberries being tossed, turned and tumbled on the tide of Jam. I’ve loved it ever since I was little and my family would head off on our annual strawberry picking day. Many would get eaten, but most would go into the Jam. It’s not just the sight, smell and sound that soothes, it’s that fact that it’s so very easy, the kind of thing to make when you yourself are feeling a bit tossed, turned and tumbled.

I was intending to get plums for plum jam, but they were still pricey and the strawberries were just sitting there, $1.00 per punnet. It did involve a little bit of extra work in the kitchen, as some of them needed the manky corners trimming, but with an episode of Dr Who playing in the background, I was up to the task.

So, all you need is some strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. And a big pot. Honest, that’s it. Too easy. For strawberry jam, I follow the Jamming gospel according to Delia with a couple of adjustments.

So. Onwards.

Strawberry Jam, adapted from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course

First, catch your strawberries. Or, y’know, pick them, buy them… whatever. Get some strawberries. 2kg to be precise. Delia says they should be slightly under-ripe, but honestly? If they’re $1.00 a punnet and slightly over-ripe? Go for it. You also need 1.35kg sugar and 2 lemons.

Hull the strawberries, and cut away any of the aforementioned manky bits. Leave them whole, or halve them if you like, then layer them in your big pot, giving them a good covering of sugar after each layer so that you use up all the sugar.

Cover, and leave them overnight. The next morning, they should look a bit like this:

Noice. Now put a couple of saucers in the fridge and put the pot over a low heat and let it do it’s thing, shaking the pan every now and then until the rest of the sugar has dissolved and lots of juice has been drawn out of the strawberries. Juice the lemons.

Add the lemon juice, give it a bit of a stir and turn up the heat to medium so that it’s bubbling away nicely.

Once it’s bubbling, time it for 15 minutes, then take it off the heat. Grab one of the saucers and put a teaspoonful of the jam on it. Now put the saucer down and walk away for a couple of minutes until it’s totally cool. This is important. DON’T keep touching the hot/warm/lukewarm liquid with your finger and tasting it and DON’T swirl the saucer around as you would tealeaves to see if you can divine whether it’s set or not by the speed of movement. Put it down and walk away until you are sure it’s totally cool.

Now, draw a line through the liquid with your finger. When it’s set, you’ll see the parted seas crinkling and not really moving back together at all, they should just stay put. Odds are this won’t happen the first try, so back onto the heat, bubbling away, this time for five minutes. In the meantime, clean and dry the saucer and put it back in the fridge. You can alternate it with the second saucer. Now test it again. And keep going, onto the heat for 5 minutes then off while you test it on the chilled saucer, repeating the process maybe four, five or six times until it shows the signs of setting.

Now remove it from the heat and let it sit for 15 minutes, then pour the jam into sterilised, dry jars (there’s a good step-by-step on how to sterilise jars here).

Put the lids on, and set them aside to cool.

I should mention that one time I made this recipe and it just didn’t gel, no Siree, not at all, not after a whole hour of bubbling away. This is what we call a win-win, because the resulting strawberry sauce graced bowls of ice-cream and porridge and was drizzled over cakes instead of icing and oh, my, it was fan-bloody-tastic. It worked this time though.

That nautical theme was very vague, wasn’t it? Oh well. Better a very vague nautical theme than no nautical theme at all, says I.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2009 10:25 pm

    Yum to jam!! You’ve inspired me to give jam-making another go… last time I tried it was a MAJOR fail…

    PS. Love the new banner!! 8)

    • maybenextweek permalink*
      December 16, 2009 6:30 pm

      Woot! Thanks! Go the jam!

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