Thank God for local markets. Where heap upon heap of fruits are piled on rough tables, singing out “take me home with you”. Never happened to you? Happens to me every time I’m vegetable shopping. I see bright colors of the fruits in season and get a little light-headed, and it takes me some amount of self control to not scoop up all the fruit and them home with me.
And a couple of weeks ago when I first saw fruits such as persimmons and blood-oranges, I may have stood open-mouthed staring at them. But just for a bit. Because I then saw a stall selling strawberries by the kilo. And all that self-control went out of the window.
I had an idea of making something to store up for the hubby, and jam seemed to be the best option. With winter just setting in, it felt like a nice and fuzzy thing to have a bottle of jam at hand to pair with a warmed slice of bread and a hot cup of tea or coffee. I asked the hubby and he said, “Yeah jam, juice, whatever ”
So with that huge vote of confidence, the jam was made and packaged into jars to (hopefully) last us a month or so. And when the hubby ate a spoon of jam, he looked at me and said, “This was so gooood, I’ll never complain about you buying so much fruit ever again. And just for this life-altering jam, let me get you that MacBook Pro you wanted”. No, not really, but I live in constant hope, you know 🙂
PS: The hubby and I enjoyed the jam, and making it last one month is proving difficult by the day
(I used Delia Smith’s jam-making tips and loosely followed her recipe here)
1 kg strawberries (avoid any bruised or pulpy berries)
600 gms sugar (this is dependent on your preference,
most recipes call for equal parts fruit and sugar, but I find this makes the jam very sweet)
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon butter
3-4″ cinnamon stick (optionally add star anise if you like spicy jam)
1 Hull the strawberries and make sure you remove all bruised parts of the fruit. Halve the berries and place in a plastic food grade container (make sure the container you use is non-reactive). Mix in the sugar and stir around. Place in fridge overnight, best for 24 hours.
2 After 24 hours, take the fruit and the juices that have formed and place in a large, heavy bottomed vessel. Before cooking, place a saucer in the freezer (this is to test if the jam is set). At medium heat, cook the strawberries for 15 minutes. Add the cinnamon stick and continue heating.
3 After cooking for around 30 mins, add the lemon juice. Cook for 10 mins more lower the heat and perform the freezer test: Take a spoon of jam and cool it. Take the saucer from the freezer put the spoon on jam on it. allow it to cool for a minute, then push the mixture with your little finger. If a crinkly skin has formed on the jam and it doesn’t run like liquid left, then the preserve is set.
4 Ensure that the jam passes the freezer test, then allow it to settle for 15 minutes, adding a small piece of butter. Remove the cinnamon sticks and transfer the jam to dry, sterilized jars while still warm. Seal the jars and set aside.
The jam is expected to stay for up-to a year if sealed with wax paper and set in a cool place.