Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Award Winning Strawberry Jam

We have had a bumper crop of strawberries this year, so yesterday I made lots of my award-winning Strawberry Jam. Yes, believe it or not, I've won lots of prizes for my jam! And it tastes so good that I won a silver cup for best domestic entry at our local Horticultural Society Show a few years ago. Most people adore strawberry jam, so it also makes a lovely homemade gift!

This is my favourite recipe as it is very quick and easy, needs to special equipment, and there's very little mess to clean up afterward! The recipe is also very flexible as the weight ratio of fruit to sugar is the same - ie for 1 cup of fruit use 1 cup of sugar, 500g fruit use 500g of sugar, and so on. Don't be tempted to use butter substitutes as these alter the taste and the jam won't be as good.

You will need:
800g/1.75lb Fresh, ripe hulled strawberries
800g/1.75lb Sugar
Knob of fresh dairy butter
Two large microwaveable bowls
3 to 4 1lb glass jars

To make:
1. Put sugar in one bowl and strawberries in the other
2. Microwave sugar on High for 2 minutes
3. Microwave strawberries on High for 5 minutes
4. If the strawberries are still whole, crush lightly with a spoon
5. Pour sugar onto strawberries & stir gently to incorporate
6. Microwave on High for 5 minutes
7. Stir well and add a knob of butter
8. Microwave on High for 10 minutes stirring halfway through
9. Stir gently and test the set
10. Microwave for a further minute if you prefer a firm set
11. Ladle into warm jars and leave to cool
12. Enjoy!

Here are some more tips for successful jam making:
The fruit should be ripe, but not overripe. I use Jam Sugar when I can find it in the shops, which is preserving sugar with a little pectin added to it, but you can use ordinary preserving sugar with a little apple pectin added if you prefer. You can even make this with ordinary sugar providing your strawberries include a good handful of under-ripe fruit. I prefer a soft set jam so I cook for the minimum time, which also preserves the bright red colour of the fruit. The more you cook it, the darker it will be. To test the set, spoon a little jam onto a cold saucer and leave for a few minutes. Then push the jam with your finger - if it wrinkles slightly it's done!

© Erika Price . All rights reserved.