The second in my edible Christmas gift series is dedicated to the art of jam making! Strawberry Jam is a favourite amongst adults and children alike, and I don’t know anyone who’d turn down a jar of the homemade variety! Like most edible gifts it’s actually really easy to make, but looks so impressive! And you can really go to town with festive decoration on your jars.
This recipe makes ALOT of jam, so you will need a large pan to make it in! I didn’t anticipate quite how much jam, and ended up in catastrophe. I took my eye off the pan for literally a minute – rookie mistake! – and next thing I know, its boiled over and lava-like jam is running down the side of my oven…all over the halogen hobs…into my oven gloves that were hanging on the oven…and all over my decorative tea-towel. ….Yes that’s a thing!
It was a disaster. And obviously, with it being so hot I was pretty much helpless until it’d cooled down a little. Lessons learnt here? Use the biggest pan possible, and DON’T take your eye off it!
Making jam is a simple concept; boiling sugar and fruit over a high heat until you reach the setting point. What you need to take into account however is the amount of pectin contained in your fruit of choice. Pectin is a gelling agent that causes jam to set, it occurs naturally in some fruit and is absent in others. Strawberries in particular are quite low in pectin, whereas apples and pears have a high count. Thankfully, nowadays our lives are made really easy with specific ‘jam sugars’ that have pectin included!
That’s not to say that you couldn’t make a jam using normal sugar and low-pectin fruits, but you’d have to boil it for so long to get to the right setting consistency that you’d have to sacrifice yield and flavour!
For my strawberry jam, I use a 1:1 ratio of fruit to sugar, with the addition of the juice of one lemon. It makes enough jam for 4 standard jam jars – I used two large and one standard…but that’s because I lost a fair bit in the aforementioned jam disaster :(.
You will need to make sure to sterilise your jars before pouring your jam in as this ensures you kill all bacteria. I find the easiest way is to pop them in the oven for 20 minutes at Gas Mark 1/140C/120C Fan. You’ll need to time this, so that the jars are still warm when you fill them with your freshly set strawberry jam. The only other prep you need to do, is place a few saucers into the freezer. You’ll use these later to test if your jam is set.
I love this strawberry jam recipe, its perfectly set and just sweet enough. Please do let me know if you gift any jars!