Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Strawberry Jam

I love cooking things that remind me of my Nanny. She's been gone for over a year now, but I still think about her all the time. She was the person that taught me to cook, and as a child I loved going through all her recipe folders and looking at the old recipes passed down to her.

One of my favourite things to make with her was Jam. We would go the old brickworks and pick blackberries from the prickly bushes. My fingers would be stained a deep purple colour by the end of it, but I loved it because it was something special that we did together.

Now, we never made strawberry jam (it was usually blackberry or apricot), but I had the urge try making jam by myself for the first time with some old strawberries that I had. We would usually make a big batch on the stove, but this recipe uses the microwave.

It was really simple to make, only took 20 minutes, and there was no need to keep an eye on it.

Strawberry Jam
500 grams of strawberries, washed, hulled and chopped
375 grams of white sugar
Juice from 1 large lemon

Put the strawberries into a 3 litre capacity heatproof bowl (Very important: bowl has to be microwave-safe). Add the white sugar and 1/3 cup lemon juice.

Place the bowl in the microwave, uncovered, for 4 minutes on HIGH (100%) power. Then stir. Put the bowl back in the microwave for a further 15 minutes on HIGH (100%) power (the jam should still be runny) or until the jam reaches setting point.

To test if the strawberry jam has reached its setting point, place 1 teaspoon of jam onto a chilled saucer. Place the saucer in your freezer for 1 to 2 minutes or until jam is at room temperature. Run your finger through the jam. If the surface “wrinkles” and the jam stays in 2 separate portions, your strawberry jam ready to bottle. If not, cook for a little longer and test again.

Spoon your hot strawberry jam into the hot sterilised jars and pop the lid on straight away (the lid will eventually pop which means it has been seal correctly).

Sterilise the jam jars and lids by washing them in hot soapy water and rinse well. Place jam jars and lids in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and boil for about 10 minutes. Then put jam jars and lids on to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Place in an oven preheated to 100°C (212°F) for 12-15 minutes or until dry.

Label, date and store jars in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight until ready to use. Give the jam at least 3 hours to set. Once the jar is opened, store in the fridge for 6 to 8 weeks

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