How to Make Strawberry Jam
There's nothing that beats home made jam
Straight from your own kitchen, home-made jam has a gorgeous fruity flavour, a clear bright colour and it's full of plain old fashioned goodness- goodness that goes beyond the taste. You've made the jam and you know exactly what's in it. It's your jam.
If you've never made jam, then you won't know how ridiculously easy it is. You won't know the pleasure of spreading berry jam over a warm scone and admiring the vibrant colour before biting into the sweet richness of your own making. It's a great experience.
When was the last time you tasted home made jam?
I love a good jam. When I make my own I serve it to my grandchildren knowing there are no food additives or colouring. And even better, they think I'm clever!
Some Jam Making Terms
Let's get these out of the way
Fruit in jelly, jam and preserves
In jelly, the fruit comes in the form of fruit juice.
In jam, the fruit comes in the form of fruit pulp or crushed fruit
In preserves, the fruit comes in the form of chunks in a syrup or a jam.
Pectin is an indigestible carbohydrate found in the cell walls of most fruit. When heated with sugar in water, it makes jams set - turn from liquid into jam. I don't use pectin but lots of people do. Jam can be made quite well without it and it keeps the price down.
Jell-O is entirely different from pectin. It's made from gelatin, which is a protein made from the collagen in cow or pig bones, hooves, and connective tissues. If you're a vegetarian, watch out for products with Jell-O.
Don't ever be afraid of making jam, it's easy and the results are particularly gratifying.
All you need is some fruit and some sugar, a bit of lemon juice and a big pot - next thing you know you're making jam with your eyes closed (almost). The best way to learn is to jump in and do it.
- 8 cups strawberries
- 6 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
Home Made Strawberry Jam
Make your first jam
1 Prepare the strawberries - take off any leaves etc.
2. Put the strawberries into a big bowl and crush them. Use a potato masher or a heavy wooden spoon but make sure you crush them by hand. Jam tastes better if you don't use the blender or food processor.
2. Put the crushed berries, sugar, juice and water into a large pot. Make sure it's a very big pot because the berry mixture will rise, and froth right up as much as three times its original size. Any pot will do as long as it's big and it's not made of aluminum.
3. Turn the heat to medium high and bring the berry mixture to a boil. You have to stir it frequently at this stage. This is the one crucial time in the whole process for, if there's ever going to be any mishap in your jam making, it will be when the mixture boils! So keep a sharp eye on it. My mother used to add a teaspoon of butter to her jam mixture to reduce the foaming but I don't often have butter to hand and if I keep my wits about me, the pot won't boil over.
4. Lower the heat to a gentle little boil and give it a stir fairly frequently. You want to make sure it's not sticking on the bottom. As it thickens up, test it by scooping up a little with a non-slotted metal spoon and seeing how it looks as it drips off the spoon.
This is called sheeting. First of all the jam will drip off the spoon in several places, but after some cooking time, the drips will combine to make a bigger drop. As the drops pull towards one another the bit of jam you can see between them is the "sheet."
5. When you're satisfied, take the pot off the heat. Skim off the foam from the top with a large metal spoon.
Let it cool in the pot a bit, then pour the jam into any clean glass container. Pop it in the frig.
You've just made strawberry jam..
Step by Step Jams and Preserves
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More than 50 new and traditional recipes with over 240 mouthwatering photographs.
Making Strawberry Jam to put away
In sealable preserve jars
Place 8 cups strawberries into a large pot and bring to a simmer on the stove for 10 minutes.
Add 6 cups sugar and 1/3 cup lemon juice. Stirring often, simmer for 15-20 minutes.
While berries are simmering, prepare your jars. If you have a dishwasher, place 8-10 jars in the top rack and run through the rinse cycle. I don't have a dishwasher so I boil my jars in hot water for two minute. In another smaller pot, I boil the lids with rubber seals for 2 minutes.
Take the strawberries off the heat and let them sit for two minutes. Ladle into jars, leaving a couple of inches of room at the top. Wipe down the rims with a paper towel and put the lids on. Place each sealed jar into a big pot of water, bring to a boil and cover for 10 minutes. Remove jars from pot and as they cool, listen for each "pop" as the seal takes.
Now you have jam to store in a dark cupboard or pantry
How about you?
Do you reckon you could whip up some home made jam?
© 2009 Susanna Duffy