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I remember as a child eating home made strawberry jam at my Nana's house on the Isle of Wight. Grandad grew the strawberries while Nana made the jam - and it was superb. Beautifully sweet jelly with great lumps of fleshy, succulent strawberries. I never tasted better, and as I have grown older I began to miss the tastes and flavours of my youth as they brought me so many happy memories. Shop bought strawberry jam - no matter how rustic they looked or expensive they were - just weren't up to standard, so I made a bold decision. I made my own strawberry jam from this years home grown strawberries. Was it a succcess? Well now, whenever I eat it I always think of summers spend in my grandparents garden. So for me, the jam was perfect!
How to make strawberry jam
1kg /2lb 3oz strawberries
1kg/2lb 3oz granulated sugar or caster sugar
½ lemon, juice only
a small knob of butter
You have a choice depending on how much strawberry jam you intend to make and how much time to have. If you have the time then you can prepare your fruit immediately before use, but if you like you can prepare the day before. Hull and halve the strawberries, then check for for any soft spots as these must be removed. Discard any strawberries that are bruised or overripe.
When you are ready to make your strawberry jam the next day, place a saucer into the freezer to chill - you'll need this when you come to test the setting point of the jam.
To begin with, it is worth sterilising the jam jars before you make the jam. To get them as clean as possible first wash the jars in hot, soapy water and rinse in clean warm water. Allow them to drip-dry, upside down, on a rack in the oven set to 140C/275F/Gas 1. Leave them there for at least half an hour while you make the jam.
Alternatively, once the jars have been washed in the hot water, fill them to half full with your hottest water from the kitchen tap, then top up to the brim with boiled water. Now place in a microwave and full power them for 1 minute. Leave them there until they are ready to be filled with jam.
Stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Bring the strawberries up to the boil then boil hard until the jam reaches setting point. Check the setting point every ten minutes, although it may take up to half an hour to reach setting point.
If the jam surface wrinkles then it has reached setting point and is ready. If it slides about as a liquid, then it hasn't reached setting point and should be returned to the heat and boiled for a few more minutes before testing again.
Let the jam cool and thicken in the pan for ten minutes, so that the strawberries don't all sink to the bottom in the jam jars.
Carefully remove the sterilised jars from the oven or microwave with oven gloves. Empty the water if necessary but when moving the jars around, try to avoid touching the insides of the jars with the oven gloves as this may introduce unwelcome bacteria.
Cover the top surface of the jam in each jar with waxed paper discs that have been cut to size - they should cover the entire surface of the jam. Press the wax disc down to create a complete seal.
Cover with a lid while still hot, label and store in a cool, dark cupboard for up to a year.
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