Strawberries are in season, so it's a perfect time to make some jam with those left over strawberries, or alternatively you can always use frozen strawberries. Yes, jam is easy to find at the supermarket, but commercial jam doesn't taste anywhere near as good as the jam you make yourself.
There are a few things you will need to get you prepared before you start. First and foremost, jars. If you have old pasta sauce jars, pickle jars or baby food jars are fantastic to use. Once you have got your jars you're half way there.
Next, you will need a Fowlers VACOLA Kleer View pack and Pectin (made by the same company), which you can pick up from the supermarket or even some places like mitre10 or other hardware places have them in their household aisles. The pack includes rubber bands, plastic seals, and labels for the jars. It is optional to buy pectin which is a setting agent to make the jam jelly-tastic, as the acid in the lemon juice will assist in helping the jam bond but to ensure great results use pectin.
So let's break it down;
Prepare your space: Place two small saucer plates in your freezer (this will make sense later) Wash your jars, preferably through the dishwasher as this will sterilise them. Have one large dinner plate with water sitting in the middle of the plate
Funnel and large cooking spoon beside stove top
Step 1: What You Need to Make Strawberry Jam 4 cups of sliced/crushed fresh or frozen strawberries 2 cups of sugar
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Jamsett 50g pectin (optional)
Pinch of cinammon or nutmeg (optional)
Now the 'difficult' part;
Step 2: How to Make Strawberry Jam
Wash and hull the strawberries carefully.
Measure 4 cups of strawberries, crushing the strawberries to make sure you have 4 full cups.
Place the strawberries in a large saucepan/fryingpan or wok. You need it to be quite a large pan to allow moisture to escape.
Add the sugar, pectin and the lemon juice to the strawberries and bring to a boil.
Keep the heat on high, stirring constantly for about 8 minutes. You may want to use a spoon to skim the top of the liquid to get rid of excess froth.
If it's looking a little lumpy use a masher in the pan to crush the berries down more.
Step 3: How to check if it's ready
This is where the plates in the freezer come into play. Take a small amount of the jam about the size of a 20cent piece on to one of the plates that has been in the freezer. Wait a few seconds, then with a metal spoon push the edge of the jam upwards, if it crinkles it's ready, if it's still a little runny keep stirring for a further few minutes and repeat process on second plate.
Once Jam is ready, you are ready to start pouring into your jar/s, for safety it's probably best to use a large cooking spoon and a funnel, to transfer jam to jar.
Step 4: The final step
Okay so now your jam is in your jars. Now you need to take the transparent preserve covers found in the Vacola pack mentioned earlier. Hold the film in opposite corners and place on top of the water on the dinner plate. As a warning the film curls quickly, so once one side of the film is wet, immediately flip ontop of the jars, ensuring the wet side is facing upwards. Next secure with a rubber band. The cover becomes taut upon jam cooling so you don't need to stretch it.
Once your jars have covers you can either leave them to cool on the bench top, or in the fridge. It takes about 24hours to set properly but it is well worth the wait.
Helpful hint: To spruce up the look of your jam, you can always use some gingham for that real country homemade look and place over the top of the clear film. You can personalise the jars with the labels found in the Vacola pack, perfect if you decide to give as a gift.
You're finished, hooray. Congratulations, you've made homemade jam. Now go and show off to all your nearest and dearest and bask in the oohs and ahhs. Hey, who says you can't be the next Nigella.