Strawberry Jam – 1

My daughter was taken out fruit picking and came home with loads of wonderful strawberries. We did eat a good few just as they are but with the remaining ones I decided to try this jam..

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We used to go fruit picking quite often during the summer holidays and I remember spending hours picking strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries. Then I remember my dad making brilliant jam. So now I’m making the jam while my daughter goes out to get the fruit!

The smell from these strawberries is just amazing, and they taste so much better than the ones from the supermarket!

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The recipe book had a good bit of information at the start of this chapter on all the jam making things you will need. It gives advice on pans, spoons, sieves, jars and covers. I would love to buy nice new jars and pretty labels but am just making this for us and like to recycle so I used a variety of old jars!

The book also talks about the pectin, and how this is needed especially when making strawberry jam. These days you can buy jam sugar that has added pectin but I am assuming that wouldn’t be available back then. It talks about ways of adding pectin to help with setting and one way is to use lemon juice. There is a strawberry jam 2 recipe that uses citric acid. So I was just using regular sugar for this.

I also didn’t chop up the strawberries..

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I quite like my jam with decent chunks in it! They did break down quite a lot and by the time I was adding the sugar there was loads of liquid.

I have a sugar thermometer so used that to make sure I reached the correct temperature, but you can do the test where you put a little jam on a cold plate and it should wrinkle as you push your finger through it. I reckon it was simmering for about 15-20 minutes before it reached the right temperature.

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This was smelling amazing as it was simmering away! I sterilised my jars by washing in hot soapy water and then putting in a warm oven to dry. I tried to take a photo of the jam in the jars but they still have existing labels and are such a random selection of shapes and sizes that they don’t look great!

I obviously had to make scones to have this with, so I rustled up a batch of wholemeal scones. I did have to try this warm and it’s lovely! Once cooled it’s just as good. I’m a butter and jam girl, whereas my husband likes his scones just jam! Either way this was great! It’s just the perfect amount of sweetness and I love the soft chunkiness of it. It’s maybe not as set as it should be but perhaps some time in the fridge will help.

Would I make this again? Yes, fab jam!

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Grapefruit and Lemon Marmalade

Its a rainy miserable Sunday so I decided to try making this marmalade. I’ve made the lime marmalade from the book already and it was great, so was looking forward to this one..

Ingredients

2 large grapefruits, about 2lb
4-5 lemons, about 1lb
3 pints water
3lbs sugar

Wash the fruit, peel off the coloured part of the skin with a knife or a peeler and cut it up finely. Peel off the pith and cut up the flesh roughly, removing any pips. Put the peel, flesh, juice and water into a pan, add the pith an pips (tied in muslin) and simmer gently for 1-1.5 hours or until the peel is soft and the contents of the pan reduced by half. Remove the muslin bag, squeezing it well, add the sugar and stir until it’s dissolved. Boil rapidly until setting point is reached. Allow to stand for 15 minutes and pot and cover in the usual way.

I may not have the patience for many things but I find chopping food quite relaxing! I halved this recipe and there still was a lot of peel to chop, but it really don’t mind doing all that by hand. I only had one grapefruit so that’s what I halved it, then I used 2 lemons.

After the first simmering stage I let it cool slightly before removing the muslin; that way I could give it a good squeeze without burning my hands. Was surprised how much the contents of the muslin bag had reduced during the simmering.

The next stage of boiling rapidly didn’t take long. I have a sugar thermometer to make sure I reach the correct temperature. Setting point is 221, but you can use the cold saucer test to make sure it’s reached the right temperature. That stage only took about 15 minutes. I sterilised my jars in the dishwasher this time.

The smell from this is amazing. I tried it warm and it was lovely, but think the real test is how it tastes once it’s cooled. So I left it for as long as I could!

This is quite lovely! It’s not too sweet and you can taste both the grapefruit and lemon. It’s set really well which I’m pleased about and the peel is nice and soft and not too chunky.

I need to get myself some nice labels or something to make it look prettier. I just use recycled jars so looks very mis-matched, some labels would make it look a bit nicer! I would love to buy some nice jars but have so many recycled ones to use up!

Would I make this again? Yes, loved it
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Lime marmalade

It’s a Sunday afternoon so wanted to try something from the jams, jellies and marmalades chapter, and the limes were on offer!

Ingredients

1.5lb limes
3 pints water
3lb sugar

Wash the fruit and remove the stem end. Place in a pan with the water and cover with a tight fitting lid. Simmer for 1.5-2 hours until the fruit is really soft. Remove it, slice very thinly using a knife and fork and discard the pips. Return the sliced fruit and all the juice to the pan and weigh(???). If necessary boil the mixture until it is reduced to 2.5lb. Add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved. Boil until setting point, allow to stand for 15 minutes then pour into sterilised jars.

Firstly I could not weigh the pan with the water and fruit. If you have electric scales then I guess you could but would need to remember to weigh the pan before you start! So I didn’t weigh my pan so had to just skip that and hope it would work ok. Setting point is basically 221 degrees F. I have a sugar thermometer so was able to make sure it reached the correct temperature. The book does advise a second check such as the saucer test. Put a plate in freezer and when you think it’s ready put a teaspoon of mix on cold plate, once it’s cooled it should wrinkle as you push your finger across it. The first boiling stage took me about an hour and a half. What a brilliant smell! I have made orange marmalade in the past and didn’t use water, was just fruit and sugar so I was a bit dubious at one point, it looked very watery. I would say the second boiling stage took about 20 minutes, the volume of liquid did reduce significantly and once cooled was a lovely thick set marmalade.

I made this hours ago and have been waiting for the marmalade to cool. I loved this, had to have on white toast with butter! It wasn’t as vibrant in colour as lime marmalades you see in the shop but still tasted great, just the right balance of sweetness and sharpness. I had bought 1lb of limes so used two thirds of the other ingredients, this made 3 jars and a little extra.

Would I make it again? Yes, I quite often make jams and chutneys for gifts at Christmas so may add this one.
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