Wednesday 28 May 2008

Strawberries for jam, for sorbet, for puree

Last saturday my friendly local farmer, where I often purchase from the farm gate, gave me approximately 20 kilos of strawberries. Yes, that's right, 20 kilos! These were strawberries that were picked that day, but were not suitable for sale because they were mis-shapen, bruised, over-ripe etc, but still usable if you didn't leave them sitting around for too long. I can't bear to waste anything, so action was called for. I started sorting saturday evening - every single strawberry had to be checked. I wanted to make some jam, but if you use over-ripe fruit you run the risk of fermentation once the jam has been made. I got through about a third of the sorting that evening...and prepared some strawberries for jam. Do you know this book? It's wonderful - full of fresh and inspiring recipes, and fabulous photographs. This recipe for strawberry jam is the most delicious, zingy, bursting-with-flavour, full of strawberry-ness recipe that I have ever tasted. Tessa says "it is also incredibly easy to make with just this small amount of strawberries; it's not necessary to make a supply for the whole year and the whole neighbourhood - although wouldn't that be nice?"

Strawberry Jam
recipe courtesy of Tessa Kiros from Apples For Jam: Recipes For Life

500 g strawberries, hulled
200g caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Quarter the strawberries and put them in a non-aluminium bowl. Add the sugar and lemon juice and toss around to distribute the ingredients evenly. Cover, and leave overnight in the fridge to draw out the juices.

Sterilize your jars, ready for a panful of hot jam

Drain off all the liquid from the strawberries into a heavy-based pan, add half the strawberries, and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently for about 15 minutes, until thickened.

Puree until smooth, then add the rest of the strawberries and bring back to the boil. Simmer over a low heat for a further 10-15 minutes and then test if the jam is ready by dropping a heaped teaspoon onto a plate. When you tilt the plate slightly the jam should not run off, but cling and slowly glide down. If the jam isn't quite ready put back on the heat for a while. It should be a lovely red and look quite sticky.

Spoon into the warm sterilized jars, filling to the brim, and close the lids tightly. This jam will keep for about six weeks before opening - after opening keep refrigerated.
Makes 375ml (1 and a 1/2 cups)

It has a relatively short keeping time as it has a lower sugar content than a standard recipe. I doubled the recipe, and ended up with two jars of jam (using recycled bonne maman jars, I think they're a little larger than standard). It also has a soft set, so lovely on bread and scones, but also swirled into plain yogurt for a quick dessert.

Then I made another batch, increasing quantities again, and ended up with a further four jars. Trouble is, I need to give the farmer a couple of jars as a thank you, and I've made promises to others too.....just as well I froze another quantity of berries for the next session.

That still left rather a lot of I made some puree for the freezer, and also some strawberry sorbet (another recipe from the book) which is also delicious. And I'm saving all that just for me. Or would you like to come round for tea and scones with clotted cream and homemade jam?


Niki said...

Oh, you're killing me!!! Our strawberry season is still a good month away. What a wonderful gift. I once had a similar one of blueberries, we froze them for pies and muffins. What time shall I turn up for tea? I haven't had clotted cream in years.


Exmoorjane said...

You've convinced me I need that book! I have the first one she did...but am always fascinated by jam and jelly recipes. No strawberry glut here (sob) but I'm still finding 101 things to do with rhubarb!
Yeah, you're right - another rant is called for - but not sure I have the energy! Would rather think about strawberry jam!

Pipany said...

Yes please, would love to come for tea! Thanks for my hug from down the road Diana - it was much needed but hopefully all is getting back to an even keel now.

What a fab pressie - all those gorgeous berries. I was once given 2 carrier bags of grapes from a lady's vine and made the most disgusting wine with it! Such a shame xx

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam! If I start driving now I might make it in time for tea!

kristina said...

Thank you so much for the jam encouragement and for including the recipe in your post. And yes, I would very much like to come round for scones with jam! K x