Easy strawberry jam
Soft fruits have such a short season – preserve their delicious flavours with this recipe.
- 1 kg/2 lb 2oz jam sugar with pectin (not preserving sugar)
- 2 kg/4¼ lb strawberries
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Put the sugar into a preserving pan
- Hull and pick through the strawberries, discarding any blemished fruit
- Put the fruit and lemon juice into the pan and stir gently. Leave for 1 hr.
- Put the pan on medium heat, bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 15 -18 mins, skimming off any scum as it appears.
- Test for a set
- When ready, turn off the heat and leave to stand for 15-20 mins to prevent the fruit rising in the jars
- Spoon into jars. Seal tightly with screw top lids while it is hot and label
There are a few golden rules for making jams, jellies and marmalades. Use dry, unblemished and not overripe fruit. Jam sugar is specified for one of these recipes – this is sugar with added citric acid and aids the setting of the jam when using fruit with little natural setting agent (pectin), such as strawberries.
All equipment must be scrupulously clean. First of all your jars and lids must be sterilised. If you have a dishwasher, put them through a high heat cycle (or wash and rinse them well in hot water) then place them on a baking tray and slide into a hot oven (gas mark 3/160˚C/fan 140˚C/325˚F) for 10-15 mins. Keep them warm until you pour in the jam. Always seal jams etc while hot.
Use as little water as possible and cover the fruit with a tightly fitting lid. Skim the scum frequently while the jam is boiling or add a small knob of butter to disperse it.
To test for a good set put a few saucers into the freezer before you start to cook the jam. When it has been boiling rapidly for 15-20 mins or so, take a saucer from the freezer and drop a small spoonful of jam on to it.
Allow it to cool for a minute then push your finger through the jam – if it wrinkles it's ready; if not, boil for a few more minutes. Continue testing until a set has been reached.
Always remove the jam from the heat while you're testing so that if it's ready you won't overcook it.