It’s a beautiful thing to make use of fresh, raw ingredients straight from the garden or farmer’s market. Most often to eat exactly as nature intended… though many a Saturday during the warmer months of the year, I find myself returning from the markets with a basket and bag overflowing with produce – my enthusiasm getting the better of me.
That’s where preserves come in. The following is a simple recipe, though one that produces a delicious jam, packed full of flavour, with just the right amount of tartness from the lemon juice to cut through the syrupy sweetness.
It was a fabulous breakfast this morning of strawberry jam slathered croissants.
Summer Strawberry Jam | Gather and Graze
- 750g Fresh Strawberries (hulled)
- 60ml/¼ Cup Lemon Juice (freshly squeezed)
- 125ml/½ Cup Water
- 1 Teaspoon Rose Essence (optional)
- 500g/2¼ Cups Raw (Caster) Sugar
Place the strawberries, lemon juice, rose essence (if using) and water into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over low-medium heat. Cook for approximately 10-15 minutes, until the fruit has softened completely.
Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Bring to the boil and allow to bubble away for another 10 minutes or so, until thickened. Keep a very good eye on the pot and stir regularly to avoid any burning on the base.
For jam to reach setting point it should be about 105°C (220°F) – test with a thermometer if you have one. Otherwise, have a small plate standing by in the freezer, to which you can scoop a little jam to test – put the plate back in the freezer for a minute or two – if it is ready it will gel together nicely, as jam usually does.
Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes (removing any foam from the top) before scooping into warm, sterilised jars. Seal immediately and allow to cool completely.
- To sterilise the jars and lids – wash in warm, soapy water, then rinse well and place on a tray in an oven pre-heated to 130°C for about 20 minutes. Or you can boil them in a large saucepan for 15 minutes.
- Be sure to place hot preserves directly into hot jars and cold preserves into cold jars.