I love strawberries. My children have always loved strawberries. Even our chickens love the tops off the strawberries. So, when I see them on special, it’s hard not to buy lots of them.
There is something very special about making homemade strawberry jam. Whether you pick your own strawberries or buy them at the market, turning strawberries into jam is so rewarding because the texture and taste is just delicious! And I mean, how hard can it be?
Well, that was originally my thinking. But after a few pots that burnt, a few that turned to treacle, and some that could only be called Clag, I was ready to give up ☹.
Strawberries are naturally low in pectin, and so without a commercial setting agent, it’s a bit tricky to get them set into a lovely, silky smooth jam. However, rather than give up, I confess I might have developed a weird ‘strawberry jam fetish’. To save anyone else from this fate, my recipe for strawberry jam is below.
This is one of those recipes which is not so much about the ingredients, but about the method. It’s all about extracting the natural pectin from the strawberries and getting the right interaction with the sugar. It’s definitely not an exact science and knowing when it’s reached setting point takes a bit of practice. But hey, this is why when you buy jam off the shelf, it will generally have a setting agent in it because no manufacturer will generally leave it to chance and risk losing the whole batch. Unless of course it’s made by Byron Pantry, whose owner is a bit weird about getting strawberry jam just right!
Byron Pantry Jam
1kg fresh strawberries - hulled and chopped
800 gm white sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
- Place strawberries, lemon juice and sugar in a bowl, cover and leave in the fridge overnight. (This does two things, it helps to release the natural pectin in the strawberries and will make it easier for the sugar to dissolve).
- The next day, sterilize your jars (in the oven 120 degrees for 20 minutes) and put a plate in the fridge so you can use it later to test the set of the jam.
- Place the sugar and strawberries in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- When the sugar has dissolved, bring to a rapid boil.
- Boil for about 15 minutes and then test to see if it has set. To do this, drop some on your cold plate. Leave for 30 seconds and then see if it ‘wrinkles’ and leaves a clean trail when you push your finger through it.
- If you can’t see the wrinkles, it’s not ready. Keep boiling for a few more minutes and then test again.
- Once you see the wrinkles on your saucer, turn off the heat and scoop any scum off the top of the jam with a large spoon. Use a syphon and a metal ladle to pour the jam into your sterilized jars. Fill to within 1 cm of the top, and seal with a lid. Leave to cool and keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.
Or, you could just try some Byron Pantry strawberry jam!