Many people’s favourite jam is strawberry, and with good reason, this fruit is wonderfully delicious when eaten on a fresh piece of buttered bread or toast. Also collecting the fruit is a great summer time day out, and the return on the labour by having your own home-made jam to eat is well worth the trouble. However, if you are new to jam making, you might want to read this post Jam And Preserve Making first, as it fully explains the main principles you will need to understand.
In jam making Strawberry jam is probably the main type of fruit jam which will probably need to be boiled for a little longer than usual to remove any excess moisture (through evaporation) so that on a rolling boil it will get to a good ‘setting point’. Make sure you can visibly see the jam thicken when on a rapid boil before testing or potting it.
Some people add in extra pectin or use a specialist jam sugar (with pectin added) for their strawberry jam, but I normally don’t go to that expense or trouble, a good boil in a decent preserving pan normally does the trick. And indeed, within this recipe, the red-currant juice is also providing the extra pectin we need.
1861 Mrs. Beeton’s STRAWBERRY JAM.
INGREDIENTS – To every lb. of fruit allow 1/2 pint of red-currant juice, 1–1/4 lb. of loaf sugar.
Mode.—Clean and hull the strawberries, put them into a jar; place this jar in a saucepan of boiling water, and simmer until the juice is well drawn from the fruit; strain the currants, measure the juice, put it into a preserving-pan, and add the sugar. Select well-ripened but sound strawberries; pick them from the stalks, and when the sugar is dissolved in the currant juice, put in the fruit. Simmer the whole over a moderate fire, from 1/2 to 3/4 hour, carefully removing the scum as it rises. Stir the jam only enough to prevent it from burning at the bottom of the pan, as the fruit should be preserved as whole as possible. Put the jam into jars, and when cold, cover down.
HOW TO TEST THE JAM WILL SET
Many recipes just say ‘boil until the jam sets when tried or tested’ experienced jam makers know exactly what this means: Spoon a little of the boiled preserve on to a cold plate, leave to cool for one minute, then push the preserve with a finger, if it has reached the setting point the top of the preserve should wrinkle with a skin. Using a thermometer: Most jams and marmalade’s reach a setting point once they have been boiled at 105C / 220F for 10 to 15 minutes.
Strawberry Jam Recipe
Note: this strawberry jam will not set fully ‘hard’, but have a lovely thick, natural oozing quality to it. If you prefer a firmer set you will need to add in some ‘pectin’ bought from a supplier, use a jam sugar with added pectin, or boil for longer.
- 2 Kg Strawberries
- 2 Kg sugar
- 500g redcurrants
- 150ml water
Clean and hull the strawberries (chop the tops off, and cut out a V from the core) – cut the largest strawberries in half. In a medium saucepan add the water and redcurrants and simmer on a gentle heat for 15 minutes. After 10 minutes use a ‘masher’ to mash the softened redcurrants down to release their juice.
Strain the mashed redcurrants, and all the juice, through a fine sieve into a large, heavy bottomed saucepan or preserving pan (jam pan). Use the back of a wooden spoon to press all the juice out of the berries and discard the remains from the sieve. You should be able to get over 500ml of juice out. Put the strained redcurrant juice in the preserving pan back onto a medium heat and add the sugar so that it dissolves.
Once the sugar has dissolved add the strawberries, turn the heat down, and simmer gently for 45 minutes until they become soft – occasionally stir, but be careful not to break the fruit up. Spoon off any impurities or foam from the top.
Then, after 45 minutes, bring to a rapid boil for 10 minutes to reduce the liquid and thicken the jam. If you have a jam thermometer, when the mixture reaches a temperature of 104C for a ten minutes the acid and the pectin in the fruit react with the sugar, and the jam will set on cooling. Test in the usual way on a cold plate.
When at the setting point pour the strawberry jam into warm, sterilised jars. Leave to cool, then cover and seal. Always write a label, ingredients and date made, for the jam jar. Store in a dark cupboard for up to 6 months.