Today my dear James bought a kilogram of strawberries at the Queen Victoria Market for the low low price of a dollar. They were in surprisingly good nick, but eating them all would have been a challenge so we decided to turn them into jam. Keep in mind I'm not much of a jam maker - I've helped my mum make jam a number of times but I generally am too lazy to make it for myself.
After a quick Google to check the proportions of ingredients, we used Martha Stewart's Strawberry Jam recipe, mostly because she's awesome but also because all James had was the strawberries and some sugar which is all Martha asked for. I've written our version below, which is basically the same with different quantities. After picking out all the scummy strawberries and cutting off the tops we went from a kilogram to 750 grams, so thats worth keeping in mind when buying your berries (depending on the quality of course).
There was a slight bump in the road when we failed to notice that the underside of our jar lids had rubber on them...don't put these type of lids in the oven to sterilize like we did! We were also a bit concerned about the jam setting (mostly due to the voicings of our nay-saying spectator, James's housemate), but things turned out pretty well in the end.
Makes 2 medium jars (about a kilogram of jam)
- 750 grams strawberries, tops picked off and halved/quartered depending on size
- 2 cups white sugar
- Put a ceramic plate in the freezer. Sterilise jars by washing thoroughly and either placing in a 130 degree oven for 20 minutes or boiling in a pot of water for 10 minutes then drying in the oven.
- Place strawberries in a nice heavy pot over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of sugar and mix. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes until sugar is dissolved and berries have released their juice. Gradually add the remaining sugar about half a cup at a time, stirring in between to allow sugar to fully dissolve before adding more.
- Bring mixture to a boil, stirring. Skim off froth if desired (this may or may not be important depending on which source you listen to, either way don't get too worried) with a metal spoon. Continue at a low boil until mixture thickens and reduces, about 40 minutes to an hour. Stir regularly to prevent jam burning on the bottom.
- Once the jam begins to thicken, test for readiness using the 'gel test'. Drop a bit of jam on the pre-chilled plate then return it to the freezer for 2 minutes. After this time, gently poke the drop of jam with your finger. If it if gel-like and wrinkles slightly while staying fairly solid, it is ready. If not, keep cooking it.
- Once the jam is ready, transfer it into pre-sterilised jars. Seal, label and refridgerate once opened.