Oh where has this week gone? I turn around intending to keep up a regular post and oops suddenly the joys of being outside has meant a whole week has passed!
One of the things we have done a fair bit of this last couple of weeks is make jams. Littleun is a strawberry addict, he enjoys everything to do with them from picking to munching as long as there can be a bit of cooking in between with them then happy days. As such, with the strawberry season in full flow, we headed off to the local PYO which is nicely hidden away so always has lots of juicy red gems.
Having picked our fruits we headed back home to dig out the jam boiler. You will need 1kg of sugar to every kilo of strawberries, Lemons and butter.
First you need to wash the strawberries and hull them, cutting out any overripe or bad/bruised parts. Then I like to cut them in half or quarters, put them in the pan with about half the sugar and leave them overnight. this gives them chance to break down a bit and seems to work better for me when starting the boiling process the next day.
Now this is something that obviously gets hot so if like me you have a littleun keen to help but also on the clumsy side you can get them drawing the labels whilst the boiling happens. You also need to sort out your jars and sterilize them. This can be done by washing them in hot soapy water and then rinsing thoroughly before putting them into the oven on a low temp for about ½ hour. Wash lids and boil.
Slowly bring to the boil so the sugar dissolves, then add the rest. You will also need to add pectin if you aren't using the pectin-added sugars but are using ordinary granulated. Pectin is something you can buy in jars (normally made in that case from apples) or you can use lemon juice. Once the sugar is completely dissolved bring to a roiling boil and stir to stop the bottom burning out. You can add a knob of butter to help reduce the frothing. Boil rapidly for 10-15 mins and then test for setting.
To test for setting you need to have put a plate in the chiller. Take the cold plate out and drop a bit of the jam onto it, if after a min or so you run your finger through it and it is wrinkly like a jelly then it is set, if it doesn't do that then you need to return to the boil for a bit longer, testing every few mins until reached.
When set, leave to cool for a few mins, stir a bit to mix any fruits evenly. Pour into warm sterilized jars and the add the wax disks leaving to cool. When cool use cellophane disks to seal tops and the lids.
Of course once you get going if you are like us you'll end up with tons of jams from all fruits. Looking forward to making some with the blackberries we currently have growing on the allotment.