In my home, a bottle of jam never lasts for more than a month; I always have about 3 different flavours in my refrigerator. For me, the idea of conjuring something that you have always bought in a store is exciting. There is nothing fussy about making jam – fresh fruit, sugar and a dash of lemon juice, how difficult can it get?
I felt like I was working in a laboratory, the work of sugar penetrating through those beautiful plump strawberries is magical. Also, my home smelt like strawberry fields – that’s some money I actually didn’t have to spend on scented candles or hand cream!
To make jam, you’ll need a glass jar. Clean the jar with soap water first and then wash it off with warm water. Drain the bottle by placing it upside down on a rack. Preheat the oven to 140 C and place the bottle in the oven for 30 minutes.
Now to make strawberry jam, you will need:
- 400 g strawberries
- 400 g caster sugar
- Juice from ½ a lemon
The day before you want to make the jam, wash the strawberries, hull and halve them. Look for soft spots and if you find any, discard them with a knife. Plop the strawberries into a clean bowl. Add 200 g of sugar and mix well. Wrap the bowl with cling film and let it chill in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, place a saucer in your freezer. Add the macerated strawberries, with the sugar and its juices in a deep dish. Add the remaining 200 g of sugar and lemon juice. Cook the strawberries in medium heat and bring them to the boil. Once the mixture reaches boiling point, increase the heat (the mixture will begin to froth up drastically).
To test if the jam has arrived its setting point, remove the dish from heat and place a drop of jam on the chilled saucer. After a few seconds, push the jam using the tip of your finger. If the surface wrinkles, your jam is ready, if it is still runny, then you have a few more minutes to go.
You’ll have to check for the setting point every 10 minutes. The jam should set within 30 minutes. Once the jam has set, careful spoon it into a sterilized glass jar. Store in a cool, dry place. The jam is consumable for a year.
Adapted from Sophie Grigson’s strawberry jam