All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jam Time!

The last two days have been dudish. The white bean and rosemary soup I made wasn't bad, but it was so not-exciting it never made it into the blog. The bittersweet chopped chocolate I tossed into the apricot scones ended up just tasting odd. So thank goodness for little rays of sunshine! I stopped by Rosaly's Farmstand, and there sat the very first strawberries of the season in this chilly area of New Hampshire! Tomorrow will be jam making morning, and that always makes me happy!
I use a recipe based on an English cookery book " Notes from a Country Kitchen" - it was there I discovered the secret to making a fragrant, somewhat soft, pectin-free jam, and better yet - it only takes about 20 minutes. These days I make smaller amounts of jam than I used to - this recipe makes about 5 jars or so of the most delicious jam, depending on the size of your jars, of course. No matter, it will be gone in a matter of weeks, as I recall last years efforts. The secret to this jam seems to be in warming the sugar in the oven before mixing it into the strawberries, so don't skip that step!
To make:
Make sure everything is very clean - counters, stockpot, jars, and NEW lids. Clean dishtowels to place the lids and jars on.
Simmer jars in very hot water for several minutes, then turn upside down on clean towels. Simmer new lids in boiling water for a few minutes and , using tongs, remove to another clean towel.
1 pound of hulled strawberries ( about 2 1/2 cups)
juice from two lemons
1 3/4 cups sugar, placed in heatproof bowl and warmed in the oven briefly
Mash the berries and simmer in the stockpot, along with the lemon juice. Since this is a small amount of jam, you need to watch the jam carefully, or it will burn.
Turn the oven on to 200F and place the sugar in the oven.
Simmer strawberries and lemon juice about 15 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the warmed sugar to the berries and lemon juice and stir constantly on medium heat.
Using your wooden stirring spoon, lift up a few drips of jam and watch carefully. You'll be able to tell when the jam is almost done when it thickens and is slow to drip. You can also test it in a glass of cold water - a few drips will firm up softly ( softball stage). It usually takes about 15-20 minutes.
When it's thickened, take off heat, turn the jars upright, and ladle hot jam into the jars.
Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp cloth, screw on the lids, and let sit. Do not move the jars around for at least 6 hours.
When the jars have fully cooled, check the lids by tapping down - a good seal will suck in the lid top, but if the lid seal has not worked, the middle of the lid will wiggle up and down. Just stick that one in the fridge and use first.
This is a great recipe for all those bramble fruits you pick all summer , as well as strawberries - and because the jam is made in small amounts and so quick, it's easy to make a few jars at a time.
Happy strawberry season!
I just made the first batch of jam, keeping track of the time it took:
My strawberries were hulled and halved and at room temperature. The timing for cooking the strawberries and lemon juice: 5 minutes.
I added the warmed sugar and cooked them at a low rolling boil until thickened. Time: 14 minutes.
This recipe today made 3 1/2 pint jars.
Featured in Tastespotting! ( and lickity-split, too!)


Maria said...

Homemade jam is the only jam I will eat. Looks so good!

katrina said...

Hi Maria! Actually, I still buy Trappist Red Currant jelly - for tops of tarts and to eat on hot, buttery croissants, but that's it. This is just over the moon good!

caro said...

oh, how i love freezer jams!