Monday, 14 February 2011

jam ... again!

I found out on Monday that a colleague of mine is having a birthday and decided to make her some strawberry jam.  It's actually a lot simpler to make than the peach jam I made on the weekend.  And this time I took more pictures along the way!

Step one, trim 500g of strawberries, break them up with a potato masher, and mix in 350g of sugar.  I used the vanilla sugar my mother in law gave me from real Tahitian vanilla beans!  I don't know if you'll be able to taste it but I thought I'd give it a try.

Some recipes say to let the strawberries macerate overnight, some don't, but since I did this step as soon as I got home I decided to let them sit until after dinner.
Step 2, add some pectin.  Pectin is the stuff in fruit that makes jam firm and not runny.  Strawberries don't have a lot of it, so I added the juice of 1/2 a lemon.  Just to be safe, I wrapped the seeds and some of the rind of the lemon in cheesecloth like I did with the apple in the peach jam.  I sat this in the mixture whilst it macerated.
Step 3, slowly heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves, then bring to a roiling boil.  This foamed up a lot more than the peach jam did, so make sure you use a big pot!  Look at it go!  That pink blob in the middle is foam, which you should skim off so the jam doesn't go cloudy.
After boiling for 10 minutes, test some jam on a plate you've kept in the freezer.  If after a minute the jam is still runny, boil for another few minutes.  If it's a bit wrinkly and firm on the plate, it's ready to bottle up.  A lot faster work than the peach jam, which took 30 minutes of cooking before you added the sugar and another 20-30 minutes after adding the sugar.

Once again I tried putting the lid on the jar and turning it upside-down to sterilize the lid.  Once again, it threw up on the benchtop when I did that (my poor oven mitt is now coated in two layers of jam).  I got this jar from the supermarket, it's obviously not a very good lid!
In any case, as long as you sterilize the jars beforehand, keep it in the fridge, and eat it pretty quickly it's not a huge deal.  I just hope my work colleague enjoys the jam!  I kept back just a tiny portion to try later.