Fresh Value Market in Cranbourne has strawberries for $1.99/500g this week - that's a great price and it means it's time to make jam.
Winter is the ideal time to make jam too - it's hot work. Standing over a pot of boiling fruit and sugar in winter isn't nearly as uncomfortable as it is in summer.
Here are my tips for making great jam, every single time.
1. Use dry, barely ripe (preferably under-ripe) fruit.
2. Use a large, wide saucepan or stockpot, preferably aluminium or stainless steel.
3. Fruit should be partly cooked before adding the sugar.
4. Bring fruit to the boil slowly, to avoid burning and sticking.
5. Use a wooden spoon for stirring, although a slotted metal spoon is ideal for skimming.
6. Add warmed sugar, the helps the sugar to dissolve faster and prevents lowering the
temperature and possible over-cooking of the fruit.
7. When sugar is added boil as rapidly as possible. Rapid boiling improves the colour and flavour of the jam and
should continue for at least 10 minutes until setting point is reached.
8. Skim with a metal slotted spoon or stir in a lump of butter about the size of a walnut when the jam is cooked.
If skimming, only skim once.
9. To test jam put a tiny amount on a saucer. When cooled it should form a skin on top.
10. Jam jars can be any jar that is clean, dry and unchipped. Jars should be sterilised and warmed in the oven to
prevent cracking when the hot jam is poured in.
11. Seal immediately with jam covers (Kleer View Preserve Covers from hardware and supermarkets) or warm
paraffin wax or wait until jam is completely cold. Never seal lukewarm jam.
1kg strawberries, hulled and halved
1kg white sugar
Juice 1 lemon
Warm the sugar in the microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Warm sugar dissolves much faster. Put fruit, sugar and lemon juice in a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Make sure all the sugar has dissolved. Use a wet pastry brush to brush down the sides of the saucepan. Once boiling, boil rapidly for
10—15 minutes. Test. Once the jam is ready turn off the heat. Bottle immediately in sterilised, warm jam jars.