There is a quaint strawberry village in the north of the island where fat luscious strawberries are harvested from April and last through the summer. This island is truly blessed with all that is good in life. We can indulge in a feast of freshly picked local strawberries every single day from now until the end of the summer. And as I listen to a church choir signing Ave Maria outside in the street, I make my first batch of strawberry jam.
Preserving fruit, capturing all that goodness in a jar, gives me a warm secure feeling.
You will need :
1 kg strawberries
1 kg sugar
25 g pectin
juice of 3 lemons
This recipe yields 12 jars of 150g each.
We picked the strawberries this morning and I think it makes a big difference to the flavor when the jam is made on the same day.
Wash the strawberries thoroughly, hull them and cut them in half. Remove any bruising and spots and do not use over ripe strawberries.
Place them in a large pot with the lemon juice and bring to a boil on moderate heat. Stir in the sugar and pectin and stir gently until the sugar has dissolved.
Bring the strawberries to a boil until it reaches setting point.
I used the saucer method for testing the setting point. Place a saucer in the freezer and test the jam by putting a few drops on the cold plate. If the jam wrinkles when you push it with your finger, it has reach setting point. If it is still runny, return to heat, boil and retest. The best color is achieved when the jam is not over heated for a long period of time and this gives you a bright red color, as strawberries are meant to be.
Now you will need to sterilize the jars. Rinse them in clean warm water and allow them to drip dry and place upside down on an rack in the oven at 140C for half an hour.
Pour the jam into the jars preferably through a funnel. I wear latex gloves to prevent contamination. I poured the jam into warm jars while it was still warm.
If you are going to store the jam, I suggest placing a disc of waxed baking paper onto the jam before covering with a lid.
You will need to store the jam in a cool dark place.
The result is packed with flavor, pure compact strawberries in this tiny jar. You can taste the goodness. Even a spread on a plain slice of toast becomes an indulgent treat.
A bright day, a beautiful choir outside my window and the summer is here to stay in the heart of the Mediterranean !