So I… sorry, we finally did it. What? Made strawberry jam. It’s been something I’ve always wanted to make, and now we have! We’ve made strawberry jam three times, and since jam moves so fast in my house, it’s not as if it will go to waste.
Initially it was Hang, who got me into making jam. She advised me that it was easy and very simple. However, I think I must have written down the instructions wrong or something, because she said it would only take 15 minutes. Ours was bubbling away for about an hour. Had we put it on low, we’d been there a day later! We were so bored of stirring and waiting, that we went off and did other things, only to return to find a bit of burnt sugar on the bottom. Thankfully, although we could smell it whilst it was hot, the taste was not significant when the jam was cool. The resulting jam was good, sweet enough and packed full of big chunks of strawberry.
Before the second batch, I discussed with Hang why it could have taken so long. She told me that she normally uses less sugar, and uses the juice and zest of half a lemon. Ok, that would increase the pectin level, so I tried it again. It still took 1 hour! In fact, the result was so weird, the jar is still sitting in the fridge. It was odd tasting, and there was no texture to it (i.e. no big lumps of strawberry).
The third batch was good, but because we were afraid of the burning, we stirred it continously, and thus broke down some of the chunks of strawberry. although the thickness/set was good in this batch (heated only to 218-220°F). We will repeat this batch again, but will not stir it as much. The recipe below is for the third batch, and unfortunately it only uses weights and not volumes. Although actual weight measurements are given here, a ratio of 3:1 strawberries to sugar works well. The recipe also works with 2:1 strawberries to sugar.
SIMPLE STRAWBERRY JAM
- 900 g (2 lb) fresh, ripe strawberries, hulled and cut into halves/quarters (about 2 cm / 3/4 inch chunks)
- 300 g (1 1/2 c) raw cane (turbinado) sugar
1. Toss strawberries in sugar, cover, and let sit at room temperature for 2-3 hours.
2. Pour all the strawberries and sugar into a large, heavy-based saucepan.
3. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until the mixture starts to boil.
4. Continue to boil (carefully) until thickened; stir occasionally to prevent any burning on the bottom.
5. Heat until the mixture reaches 103-104°C (218-220°F) on a sugar (candy) thermometer*.
6. Remove from the heat and pour into sterilized jars, and can if you wish. Allow to cool to room temperature before chilling. Enjoy!
* If you do not have a sugar (candy) thermometer, start the jam making process by freezing a plate. When the mixture starts to get a little thick and looks like it’s beginning to gel, turn off the heat and put a small amount of the jam onto the frozen plate, and return to the freezer. After a few minutes, nudge the jam, if it wrinkles, it is ready.