I hope you like jamming too.
I love making jam. There is nothing so basic, so earthy and so wholesome. When anyone asks me what animal I would be (I wish more people would ask me this question) I always say a squirrel, because I am a natural hoarder: of ornaments, of food, of everything. (I once went through a phase of keeping all onion skins to one day make a huge collage of beautiful shining gold and purple skins – needless to say Dad put pay to that plan swifter than you can set fire to a stash of onion skins). Nevertheless hoarding, or storing for some future eventuality is one of life’s most instinctive and most satisfying activities. This is partly why making preserves appeals to me so much: locking in the sunshine, the ripe flavour of fruit at its best to enjoy all year round. Jars of potted summer flavour can now sit patiently in your larder, waiting for the next time you break open a warm scone, or slice the crust from a fresh loaf.
The aforementioned fruit farm near me (http://www.boyces-manstree.co.uk/) supplied me with my jam fruit. This year’s haul included Strawberries and Tayberries. Tayberries are a cross-breed between raspberries and blackberries, and are absolutely delicious. They make wonderful jam. And strawberry jam is always a treat. Two perfect summer jams.
Old Fashioned Strawberry Jam
1.5 kg strawberries
juice 2 lemons
1.2 kg preserving sugar
Strawberry jam is always a fairly soft set: strawberries are very low in pectin, hence the preserving sugar which has added pectin.
Hull the strawberries and halve them. Put them in a preserving pan. Pour over the sugar and squeeze over the lemon juice. Leave to marinade overnight. In the morning, bring the mixture to the boil and boil vigorously for at least ten minutes. Check for setting point – either with a jam thermometer or the cold-plate test. This involves placing a plate in the fridge for a few minutes, then when you think your jam may be done drop a little onto the cold plate and leave for 30 seconds. Push gently with your finger and if the mixture wrinkles under your moving finger the jam is ready. Pot in sterilised jars and seal.
Strawberry and Lavender Jam
A twist on the original: very good sandwiched in a Victoria Sponge, or on Ricotta Pancakes (recipe to follow)
Recipe as above: stir in 1 tsp lavender flowers (any good deli/Waitrose sell these for baking) just before potting the jam.
1.5 kg tayberries
1.3kg granulated sugar
Put the whole lot in the preserving pan and boil vigorously until setting point is reached. Pot in the usual manner.