It’s funny how the smallest achievement can give you a huge sense of satisfaction and bring a smile to your face. Making four jars of strawberry jams was one of those achievements.
This is the second lot of jam this year from the plot – the first lot being rhubarb and ginger. I like the idea of making jam since it will give me a reminder of summer in the winter and it just tastes so much nicer when you have made it yourself. I think, and I maybe prejudiced here, but I think your own jam even tastes better than someone else home-made jam. I last made strawberry jam about 20 years ago when the boys were very little and I was trying to be a good housewife – then my marriage ended, obviously the jam was not enough, and my finances were non-existence so no more jam making.
I still have the copper preserving pan, funnel and thermometer from back then so I really have no excuse apart from a lack of confidence. I did try making jam last autumn but it was damson and the recipe was rubbish and I had glue. The rhubarb and ginger jam though is quite simply divine and has boosted my confidence.
As we are going away later this week I wanted to pick as many strawberries as possible from the plot. The crop has been ridiculously bountiful, I have never seen so many. However sadly only a third are harvestable and the rest had to be thrown. I don’t know if its rain damage or some disease but many of the fruit are mouldy. I had put a load of straw under the plants a while ago to protect the fruit but with all the rain we have had I suspect it may have done more harm than good. So today I set too and cleared all the rotten fruit, disposing of them off site in case it is a disease, but I still managed to pick just over a kilo. We have had numerous bowls of strawberries so I thought I would give the boys the evening off strawberry eating duty and make jam instead.
After my doldrums about the damson jam it was recommended that I buy the River Cottage Preserves Book you can’t beat Pam Corbin for preserves. I have to say the recipe was incredibly simple and quick – much simpler than I remember. I get very stressed about the setting point so ended up checking three different ways: temperature, saucer and wooden spoon tests. Then I had four jars of sparkling jam. From the leftovers I scooped out of the pan, oh and off the spoons it is very good jam but the proof will be when I re-open the first jar to see how solid it is. But in the meantime I shall admire the jars of gooey ruby treasure on my increasingly full preserves shelf.
Note: I haven’t reproduced the recipe here as I can’t find it on the internet and therefore I don’t want to infringe any copyrights so if you would like the recipe I would recommend buying the book.