Tag Archive | Strawberry Jam recipe

How To Make Strawberry Jam & Jam Making Tips

This week I was astonished to find see that strawberries are £2.00 for a 400 gram  punnet (or £2.50 for a 300 gram punnet of organic strawberries).  It’s a long time since I have bought strawberries and I didn’t realise they are so expensive and I would like to bet they don’t taste half as nice as homegrown ones, as shop bought strawberries are usually grown for their ‘long shelf life’ rather than taste.

.

If you read my post on Friday, you will know that I am having a bumper crop of strawberries this year.

SAM_6766 SAM_6804 SAM_6736

We have been eating them on their own, or with yoghurt, or with a sprinkling of sugar and my youngest daughter has even been dipping them into melted chocolate.  They are delicious.

SAM_6705

I have also frozen lots of them, by laying the washed and hulled strawberries on a tray and then freezing them.  When they are frozen I put the strawberries into bags.  This way, they don’t all stick together and it is easy to just pick a few out of the bag when I need them.

SAM_6784

I use the frozen strawberries to make cordials, pies etc and my daughters like them in fruit salads (though they do go a bit mushy when they are defrosted).

I also use them to make jams for the christmas hampers that I give away to my family:

SAM_5454

.

Over the weekend I made another batch of strawberry jam for my daughter, as it’s her favourite.

Strawberries are quite low in pectin and pectin helps the jam to set.  I normally remedy this by just adding a tablespoon or two of lemon juice to my jam, as this is high in pectin and helps it to set.  However, I thought I would try an experiment this time, to find out if  ‘Jam Sugar’ with the pectin already added, would make a better jam, as lots of recipes recommend you to use this:

SAM_6810

So this is how I made the jam with the jam sugar:

.

Strawberry Jam Using Jam Sugar:

.

2 kg Strawberries

2 kg Jam Sugar

.

Before I started, I put some side plates into the freezer for a few hours.  I used these later to test for the ‘setting point’

I washed and hulled the strawberries

I put the strawberries and jam sugar into a large pan (the contents rise as it boils)

SAM_6811

I put the pan onto a low heat and stirred comtinuously with a wooden spoon.

SAM_6812

I continued stirring until the sugar melted and I couldn’t see any sugar crystals on the back of my spoon

SAM_6814

At this point I turned the heat right up and boiling hard.  I always find that jam burns at the bottom of my pan if I just leave it to boil,  so I stir the jam continuously, though other recipes don’t tell you to do this.

SAM_6815

After approximately 5 minutes of boiling I tested for the ‘setting point’.  To do this, I put a small drop of jam on one of the side plates from the freezer.  After a few moments, I push the jam with my finger and if it wrinkles it’s ready.  If it doesn’t wrinkle, I continue to boil the jam.

I usually keep checking the jam every five minutes until the setting point is reached.

SAM_6824

When the setting point was reached I took the pan off the heat and stirred in a knob of butter to reduce the skum off the top of the jam.  I then left it for fifteen minutes, which helps to stop the strawberries from dropping to the bottom of the jars.

SAM_6825

While I was waiting I sterilised eight jam jars by placing them in my oven, gas mark 4 for 5 minutes.

I poured the jam into the jars and sealed them with the lids.  I used jars that have a sealable lid (i.e. the jars that jam is sold in, at the supermarket).  This way I don’t need to worry about wax discs to create a seal.  As the jam cools, the lids ‘pop’ down and make you jump.

SAM_6830

.

I managed to make eight jars out of the ingredients and the jam sugar was £1.99 per kg.  This worked out at just under 50p per jar, which is still cheaper than shop bought jam, however if I had used ordinary granualted sugar and lemon juice, the jars would have worked out at 25p per jar.

.

My Review Of Jam Sugar

.

So did the jam set better?….

When I was making the jam, it reached setting point far quicker than my method of using granulated sugar and lemon juice.

When I used the jam, was it any better?

Unfortunately the answer is “No”, it was the same as my jam.

Would I buy and use Jam Sugar again?

No, I don’t think it is worth the money.  Please let me know your thoughts on this.

SAM_6810

.

My Tips For Jam Making:

.

Just to let you know, the pan I use to make jam is a ‘maslin’ pan which is deep enough for jam making.  Mine was second hand, which I purchased for £10 from ebay and it was worth every penny.

Jam making is easy once you have got the hang of it.  If you haven’t made jam before, I have written some tips below to help you:

.

Clean equipment – Always use equipment that is scupulously clean and jars that have been sterilised.

.

Fruit – Always use undamaged fruit. Fruit with too much damage will spoil the result and the jam is likely to deteriorate quickly.

SAM_6828

.

Pectin – Jams, jellies and marmalade set because of pectin. Pectin occurs naturally in fruit and when cooked with sugar the naturally occurring acid in the fruit, thickens and sets the preserve. Citrus fruit, blackberries, apples and redcurrants have high pectin levels. Soft fruits such as strawberries have a lower pectin level. If fruits are low in pectin then you can add fruits with a higher level of pectin to it or just add a few squeezes of lemon juice which will help them to set. When possible use slightly under ripe fruit when pectin levels will be at the highest.

.

Sugar – I use granulated but you can use preserving sugar, but it is more expensive. Preserving sugar will help set low-pectin fruits, but I just add lemon juice to granulated sugar, which does the same job.

.

Quantity – Don’t make too large a quantity at one time. Large volumes of fruit and sugar will take a long time to reach setting point, causing the fruit to break up and eventually dissolve in the jam.

.

To test for the setting point – Place a few small plates or saucers in to your freezer for a while before you start to make jam, so they are really cold.  Pour a small drop of the hot jam on to the plate and wait a few moments. Push the edges of the jam with your index finger and if the jam wrinkles then the setting point has been reached.  If it’s not set, continue to boil it and check again in 5 minutes. Don’t overcook. It is tempting to keep cooking to achieve a firmer set. A slightly looser jam is preferable to one that tastes burnt or where the fruit has dissolved.  Don’t worry if you didn’t judge your jam setting point correctly and it’s runny, just call it a ‘preserve’ instead.

SAM_6824

.

Scum – There is always a little bit of scum on the jam after the setting point has been reached.  Skim it off with a ladle or add a tiny knob of butter and stir. This will dissolve the scum almost instantly.

.

Leave the jam to settle – Always leave the jam for 15 mins away from the heat, once the setting point has been reached.  This will prevent the fruit from rising to the surface of the jar when you pour it in.

.

SAM_6736

I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog today.

I will be back on Friday at my usual time of 4pm.  Have a good week.

Advertisements

A Busy Weekend and Crab Apple Jelly

This weekend has been so busy.

I started by changing the covers on our three piece suite.  The weather forecast said that this week will probably be unsettled so I decided to change the covers while the weather was good.

When we bought the suite I particularly wanted removeable covers, so I could wash them.  We bought two sets of covers, a cream set and a brown set.  Because of this, it’s like having a new suite every six months when I change the covers.

.

This weekend I picked my first sweetcorn and cooked it under the grill.  It was definately worth waiting for, as it was absolutely delicious, with lashings of butter and lemon juice.  Such a treat!

Our first sweetcorn this year

.

This is the time of year that I am preserving and freezing my allotment produce, ready for the winter.

I also did a lot of batch baking on Saturday.  I started by making twenty bread rolls, which I sliced and froze ready for lunches during the week.

Then I made some fruit scones, ready for packed lunches.  I sliced and buttered them and then I froze them too.  I take one out each day and pop it straight into the lunch boxes and it is defrosted by lunch time.

Fruit Scones

I made a big pan full of Patty Pan soup for lunch on Saturday and I froze some of it in portions, ready for my daughters, when they come home from school really hungry.  I figure that a mug of soup is much better for them than a ‘sweet’ snack in between meals.  You can find the recipe for the soup here.

Patty Pans

I also cooked a big pan full of pasta sauce for tea.

Pasta / pizza sauce

I managed to freeze a portion for another day and I froze various small portions which I use as pizza sauce.

.

I also made some more strawberry jam, using the strawberries from the freezer.

.

On Saturday I attended a ‘Seed Saving Workshop’ which was run by ‘Ryton Organic Gradens’.  It was a really interesting afternoon.

Ryton Organic Gardens run various courses throughout the year and there is loads of interesting information on their website, which you can find here.

.

In May this year, one of my friends invited me to go on a ‘Dummy run’ for a Foragers Course they were going to be running from our local ‘Eco House’.  It was absolutely fascinating.  They took me around my local park and introduced me to loads of things that I didn’t know you could eat.

You can see the Eco House website here.

I decided to go foraging for Crab Apples and I wasn’t disappointed.  I managed to find a whole bag full, so I could make Crab Apple Jelly.  Unfortunately, I sort of made the recipe up and forgot to weigh the apples, but this is how I did it.

Crab Apple Jelly

Ingredients:

Crab Apple (I used a carrier bag full)

Granulated Sugar

2 tablespoons of Lemon juice

Muslin or tea towel

 

Method:

First wash and top and tail the apples.

Put them into a large pan with just enough water to cover the apples and add the lemon juice.

Boil for approximately 25 minutes until the apples are soft.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and put your muslin or tea towel in it and boil for 3 minutes.  Take it out of the water and wring it out and then leave to cool.

Tip the fruit into the muslin and let it drip overnight or for approximately 8 hours.  I find it easier to put the muslin over a colander that is already over a bowl, as it’s easier to pour the fruit into it.

The next day put some side plates or saucers in the freezer to check the setting point of your jelly.

Measure the juice. For every 1 pint of juice, measure 1lb of sugar.  Put the juice and sugar back into a large pan and bring it to the boil slowly, over a low heat, until the sugar has dissolved.

When you can see no sugar crystals on the back of your wooden spoon, turn the heat up and boil hard until the setting point has been reached. The apples are high in pectin so this will not take long.

To check the setting point, put a small amount of jelly on a saucer from the freezer and wait for a few moments, push the jelly with your finger and if it wrinkles then the setting point has been reached, if not, just continue boiling for a further five minutes and then check again.

When the setting point has been reached, take the pan off the heat and leave it for fifteen minutes while you sterilise your jars.

If there is scum on your jelly, you can skim it off, but I just stir in a small knob of butter which does the same job.

Sterilise some jam jars (gas mark 4 for 5 minutes)

Pour the jelly into the jars and seal with lids.

I use the jars that have sealable lids (i.e. the jars that jam is sold in at the supermarket). This way you don’t need to worry about wax discs to create a seal. As the jam cools, the lids ‘pop down’ and make you jump.

 .

I worked out that because I used apples that I foraged, my Apple Jelly was just 27p per jar to make.  The cheapest jelly I have managed to find in the supermarket is Bramble Jelly which is 80p a jar.  The supermarkets don’t seem to stock ‘Apple Jelly’ so I think you would need to buy it from specialist shops too.

It is really easy to make and tastes lovely.  You can serve it with meat, or on top of a slice of homemade bread.

.

We finished the weekend with a lovely family picnic at Bosworth Country Park.

We played cricket, tennis and fed the ducks and we had lovely family time together.

We then went for a long walk.  It was a great way to spend an afternoon.

Thank you for reading my blog today.

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Jam & Jam Making Tips

Over the weekend I made some strawberry jam, with the strawberries that I have in the freezer.

I was very scared of making jam the first time I attempted it and I’ve got to say my jam was awful and rock hard!

Since then, I’m pleased to say, I have got the hang of it and I now find it very easy.

.

Strawberry jam

Strawberries

Granulated sugar

Lemon juice

.

Before you start, put some side plates in the freezer for a few hours.  These will be used to test the ‘setting point’

Wash and hull the strawberries

Weigh the strawberries and put into a large pan (the contents will rise as it boils)

Put the same weight of sugar in the pan with the strawberries

Put the pan on a low heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar has melted and the sugar crystals can not be seen on the back of your spoon

As strawberries have a very low pectin level, add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice per 1lb of strawberries.

At this point turn the heat right up and bring to a boil and continue boiling hard.  I find the jam burns at the bottom of my pan if I just leave it to boil,  so I stir the jam continuously, though other recipes don’t tell you to do this.

After 10 minutes test for the ‘setting point’.  To do this, put a small drop of jam on one of the side plates from the freezer.  After a few moments, push the jam with your finger and if it wrinkles it’s ready.  If it doesn’t wrinkle, continue boiling hard.

Keep checking the jam every five minutes until the setting point is reached.

Take the pan off the heat and leave it for fifteen minutes.  If there is scum on your jam, you can skim it off, but I just stir in a small knob of butter which does the same job.

Sterilise some jam jars (gas mark 4 for 5 minutes)

Pour the jam into the jars and seal with lids.  I use the jars that have a sealable lid (i.e. the jars that jam is sold in, at the supermarket).  This way you don’t need to worry about wax discs to create a seal.  As the jam cools, the lids ‘pop’ and make you jump.

The jam stores for ages and ages in a cool, dark place, however, once you have opened a jar, keep it refridgerated.

.

The pan I use to make jam is a ‘maslin’ pan which is deep enough for jam making.  Mine was second hand, which I purchased for £10 from ebay and it was worth every penny.

I have worked out, that because I grew my own strawberries, each jar of homemade jam costs just 22 pence per jar to make.  The cheapest strawberry jam I have managed to find, is Tesco’s value jam which is 35 pence per jar and has only 35% of fruit in it too.

 Though I do say so myself, I’m sure mine tastes an awful lot nicer.

Homemade Strawberry Jam on homemade bread…bliss!

.

I commented recently that I had to learn things by reading lots of different books and websites.  It would have been much easier for me to have the information all together in one place.

So, i’ve written some jam making tips below, to help you if you are making jam for the first time:

.

Clean equipment – Always use equipment that is scupulously clean and jars that have been sterilised.

.

Fruit – Always use undamaged fruit. Fruit with too much damage will spoil the result and the jam is likely to deteriorate quickly.

.

Pectin – Jams, jellies and marmalade set because of pectin. Pectin occurs naturally in fruit and when cooked with sugar the naturally occurring acid in the fruit, thickens and sets the preserve. Citrus fruit, blackberries, apples and redcurrants have high pectin levels. Soft fruits such as strawberries have a lower pectin level. If fruits are low in pectin then you can add fruits with a higher level of pectin to it or just add a few squeezes of lemon juice which will help them to set. When possible use slightly under ripe fruit when pectin levels will be at the highest.

Sugar – I use granulated but you can use preserving sugar, but it is more expensive. Preserving sugar will help set low-pectin fruits, but I just add lemon juice to granulated sugar, which does the same job.

I buy big bags of sugar as it’s cheaper per kg

Quantity – Don’t make too large a quantity at one time. Large volumes of fruit and sugar will take a long time to reach setting point, causing the fruit to break up and eventually dissolve in the jam.

.

To test for the setting point – Place a few small plates or saucers in to your freezer for a while before you start to make jam, so they are really cold.  Pour a small drop of the hot jam on to the plate and wait a few moments. Push the edges of the jam with your index finger and if the jam wrinkles then the setting point has been reached.  If it’s not set, continue to boil it and check again in 5 minutes. Don’t overcook. It is tempting to keep cooking to achieve a firmer set. A slightly looser jam is preferable to one that tastes burnt or where the fruit has dissolved.  Don’t worry if you didn’t judge your jam setting point correctly and it’s runny, just call it a ‘preserve’ instead.

.

Scum – There is always a little bit of scum on the jam after the setting point has been reached.  Skim it off with a ladle or add a tiny knob of butter and stir. This will dissolve the scum almost instantly.

.

Leave the jam to settle – Always leave the jam for 15 mins away from the heat, once the setting point has been reached.  This will prevent the fruit from rising to the surface of the jar when you pour it in.

I really hope that todays post will help someone to make lovely jam.

Thanks for readingit .