Not to suggest that all of the time spent at my mother's was taken up with culinary endavours, but we did set ourselves the task of creating a batch of the world's most delicious strawberry jam. For my mother, who is an accomplished and enthusiastic jam maker, I think this was not such a great challenge. However, I'm more of a chutney fan myself, and this was my first foray into the sticky world of jam-making. So here's what we did...
Home-made strawberry jam
1kg strawberries, hulled (large ones halved or quartered)
500g granulated sugar
550g jam sugar with added pectin
150ml lemon juice
About 4 sterilised jars (still warm from the sterilisation process)
1. Put a saucer into the fridge. This cool saucer will be used later to test for setting point.
2. Put 200g of strawberries into a pan, with about half of the granulated sugar, and mash gently.
3.When warmed through, add the rest of the strawberries. Gently bring to simmering point, stirring carefully with a wooden spoon to stop it sticking. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the strawberries are softened.
4. Add the rest of the sugar, stirring continuously.
5. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the lemon juice. Bring back to the boil, and boil rapidly for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Test for setting point. If there is any scum on top of the jam, add a small knob of butter and stir in, as this will disperse the scum.
To test for setting point:
Put a blob of your jam onto a cool saucer. Leave for one minute, then push gently with your finger. If a clear path remains, then the jam is ready. If the jam is not ready, keep boiling and testing in increments of three minutes.
Decant into sterilised jars (still warm), seal and turn upside down and back again to improve the seal.
For me it seems that strawberry jam's main purpose in life (in my life, at least) is to team up with the decadent creaminess of Cornish clotted cream atop a delicious fruit scone, and to spend its brief existence being admired and devoured with equal delight.
I was very happy to seal this jam's fate.