I‘ve been curious about the making of jams for a long time now. Dunster loves to have jam on bread as breakfast before he goes off to work every morning and we ran out of our supply of jams which we’ve got from the UK. We love jams from the UK; mainly coz the combination of fruits, with or without liquor, used to make the jams are so different and they’re always delish.. I’ve done quite a lot of research on homemade jams without pectin. My friend, Lianne assured me that her jam turned out fine without using pectin. 😀
I found an interesting and easy to manage recipe on BBC Recipe using fresh strawberries – yes, strawberries are in season now and we’ve always liked strawberry jam.. So using half of the ingredients from Sophie Grigson‘s recipe, I made this..
Makes 2 jars
- 500g fresh strawberries, hulled n halved, soft spots or bruises removed and overripe fruit discarded (or eaten 😀 )
- 500g granulated or caster sugar (I used 350g sugarcane sugar)
- 1/2 lemon, juice only (I used 1 tbsp lime juice)
- a small knob of butter
Other compulsory to have items:
- 2 200 or 250 ml sized glass jars or pots with metal or glass lids
- Place strawberries into a large bowl with half of sugar. Carefully mix and coat strawberries well with sugar. Then cover with clingfilm and place in fridge overnight.
- The next day, place at least 2 small saucers in freezer to chill – needed when testing the setting point of jam.
- Sterilise jam jars or pots – wash jars in soapy water and rinse thoroughly. All them to drip-dry, upside down, on a rack in oven set to 140C, for at least 30 mins while making jam.
- Pour strawberries, their juices and any residual sugary juices into a very large (if possible, stainless steel) pan or pot, remembering that mixture will rise as it boils. Add remaining sugar and lemon juice.
- Stir over a gentle heat till sugar has completely dissolved.
- Bring strawberries up to a boil, then boil hard till jam reaches setting point. Check setting point every 10 mins, altho it may take up to 30 mins to reach setting point. Skim off scum as they appear, if necessary.
- To test setting point, remove pan from heat. Take 1 saucer from freezer and place a drop of jam onto cold plate. Return saucer to freezer for 30 seconds. Remove from freezer and test for setting point by pushing jam with a finger.
- If jam surface wrinkles, then it has reached setting point and is ready. If it slides about as liquid, then it hasn’t reached setting point and should be returned to the heat and boiled for a few more minutes before testing again.
- When setting point has been reached, turn off heat. Stir in butter and skim off all scum from surface of jam.
- Let jam cool and thicken in pan for 10 mins, so that strawberries don’t sink to bottom of jam jars or pots.
- Carefully remove sterilised jam jars or pots from the oven with oven gloves – try to avoid touching insides of jars with oven gloves, which might introduce unwelcome bacteria.
- Stir jam, then ladle it carefully into sterilised jars. Use a jam funnel, if you have one, to avoid spilling too much jam.
- Cover top surface of jam in each jar or pot with waxed paper discs that have been cut to size – they should cover the entire surface of jam. Press wax disc down to create a complete seal.
- Cover with a lid while still hot, label and store in a cool dark cupboard for up to a year.
- 1st batch was boiled for 30 mins; just a little too long altho i checked after 20 mins, so fruits dissolved and when jam cooled, it was slightly too set.
- 2nd batch was boiled for 20 mins and it was fine; fruits were still visible and it was just a little runny – but it’s good.
- also made galia melon with candied ginger using same method – recipe will be posted soon.
- Since the making of these 2 kinds of jam, I’ve bought 2 books on jams and preserves. The preparation method in these books are different from Sophie Grigson’s but I was more interested in the varieties of fruits and mixtures.. I’ll continue using less sugar even tho amount of sugar and lemon helps the setting of jam in relation to the natural pectin of fruits.
- I used demerara sugar as we only have demerara sugar at home but if natural fruit colour’s desired, then use white granulated sugar. However, I think demerara sugar doesn’t really affect the colour of jam very much.
- I prefer lime juice than lemon juice and I understand that either will do. Or even unsweetened apple juice.
- Since I didn’t use wax paper, I put my jams in the fridge and since I made only a small batch, it doesn’t really matter coz they would be finished within 6 months.
I find Sophie Grigson’s basic recipe so easy that I would continue to make our own jams. Unless if we come across any unusual jams whenever we’re overseas, i.e. in the UK.
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