home made jam

home made strawberry jam

 In today's world of convenience and fast  food some of the simple pleasures are being lost , possibly forever. As a child and today as a senior citizen I  look forward during the winter months to this time of year when the fruit ripens when armed with basins, bags ,a stout pair of shoes and thorn proof gloves I hit the strawberry fields, orchards and hedgerows .

If you are lucky enough to have a large garden or an allotment  you can grow your own and if not then there are plenty of pick your own fields. where you can go as an entire family or simply on your own and fill the baskets with luscious ripe fruit.

Once home the fruit should be wiped  and in the case of strawberries hulled (that is removing the stalk)and placed in jam kettle.after being weighed.  The scales and jam kettle that I use  were my mother's and before her my grandmothers - the scales having a shallow bowl on one side and a flat plate on the other and the weights ranging from 1 ounce to 2 pounds(no kilograms then) and the jam kettle  being a large round coppe bottomed metal container with a pouring lip at one side and a handle looped over the bowl.

So that the fruits stay whole in the jam they can be covered with an equal weight of  sugar(jam sugar is best as this contains pectin which helps the jam to set) and left for 24 hours before being cooked Once cooked and tested  to see if it at setting point it should be allowed to cool before being placed into jars that have been warmed in the oven.  By doing this it ensures that the fruit stays evenly distributed through the jam and does not rise to the surface in the jar.

The jar should then be labelled with the type of jam and the date it was made and I like to put the place of origin of the fruit and then can be stored  to use during the winter  when  I find that just by opening and smelling the fruit I can recall and be thankful for the lovely summer day that I picked it and watch with pleasure as my children and  grandchildren enjoy the fruits of my labour!


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