The strawberries are blooming in the garden and spring will bring a bumper crop. In Sydney strawberries are particularly cheap and abundant so if you have never tried making jam why not give it a try. There is nothing better than a good spoonful of homemade strawberry jam to spread on your toast or to dollop on your scones with cream. This recipe will help you discover the delicious flavour but most importantly the wonderful spreadable, consistency of a good homemade strawberry jam.
Homemade Strawberry Jam
- 1.5 kg Strawberries
- 1.125 kg Sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 knob of butter (optional)
- Wash jam jars in hot soapy water, rinsing them well and put them on an oven tray.
- Wipe the strawberries with damp kitchen paper and hull the stem and core out. Leave whole for chunky jam or cut in half or smaller as desired for a more spreadable jam. I have chosen to cut the strawberies in half
- Place the sugar in a large bowl and cover with the strawberries
- Gently toss the strawberries through the sugar and set aside overnight, covering the bowl loosely with some cheesecloth
- Next day put put a saucer in the freezer and place the jar lids and stainless steel tongs into a small pan of water and bring to the boil. Then lower the heat and leave them to simmer on the lowest heat
- Place the clean jam jars on the tray into a cold oven and set at 140º C. They should be completely dry by the time the jam is ready.
- Place the strawberries that have been macerating with the sugar and all the juice that has formed, along with the lemon juice into a heavy based stainless steel pan
- Stir the mixture well to incorporate and break up any large clumps of the sugar that may still be there
- Cook on a low heat until the sugar is fully dissolved, stirring to make sure that the mixture does not catch. There should be no grains of sugar remaining
- When the sugar is completely dissolved, continue cooking the berries on low till they are soft. This will depend on the ripeness of the strawberries and could take up to 40 minutes.
- Mash with a potato masher if you do not want chunks of strawberries and a smoother jam.
- When the strawberies are cooked, turn up the heat and bring to a rolling boil
- Use heat protective gloves to protect your hands from spatter burns as the liquid is very hot
- Carefully clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan with the end dipped into the boiling jam mixture and cook until it reaches 105º C
- When this temperature has been reached boil vigorously for a further 10 minutes
- Then test the jam to see if it has reached the setting point by dropping a small amount of the jam onto the chilled saucer for a minute. Push the jam with your finger. If it wrinkles and doesn’t run, it has reached its setting point.
- Put the small knob of butter into the jam and mix for a minute to dissolve all the froth from the top of the jam or if you wish just remove it carefully with a spoon
- Carefully ladle the jam into the hot, sterilised jars leaving a space between the lid and the jam and then seal. Handle the lids with sterilised tongs and never let your hands touch the inside of the lids. Seal tightly. Set aside to cool. You will hear the lids pop as a vacume forms as the jars cool.
- They will keep at room temperature for a year or in the fridge when opened
- Enjoy your jam on a slice of toast or a fresh baked scone with a good cup of coffee or a pot of tea