I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m a sucker for a strawberry. I inhale them through the summer and I spend the rest of the year pining for these adorable ruby red berries to come back into my life. Thankfully, we’ve gotten over our period of imported berries and the ones appearing are Queensland-grown, so whilst we may not be in winter, I can still start enjoying my favourite jewels!
I have done almost everything I can with strawberries – made tarts, baked them into muffins and cakes, enjoyed them straight or in salads, dipped in chocolate or in cream…
In fact, if I think about it, the only thing I *haven’t* done with strawberries is to make ice cream, or jam.
Well, we can cross that latter one off the list now 😉
I’ve read PLENTY of recipes for strawberry jam over the years, so the basic formula has always been in my head – berries, sugar, lemon juice and if you’re a vanilla fiend like me, then a little vanilla as well! So the problem wasn’t that I didn’t think I could do it…I was just nervous as I’d never done it before!
However, after buying a few punnets of berries the other week and ending up being far too busy to do what I had initiaully planned for them, I checked the fridge about 4 days later and noticed that the berries were beginning to look a bit on the soft and not so tasty side. Hrmph!
Well, there went my strawberry genoese sponge idea! Which was rather saddening, as it is one of my favourite cakes, yet the issue was the ample store of berries that I had in my fridge that needed to be used up straight away! What to do, what to do? I sat at my kitchen bench, chin on the counter as I stared at the berries, feeling utterly flummoxed when I heard my brother remark from behind me “Aww heck, there’s no strawberry jam left!”
After hearing that, of course I had to come to the rescue! I decided to roll up my sleeves and give it a good ol’ go, and aren’t I glad that I did! Now I can’t wait till summer rolls around so I can go and buy ample amounts of fruit from farms and get my jammin’ mojo on!
Home-made Strawberry Jam
Roughly 3 cups strawberries – rinsed, dried and hulled
1/2 – 1 cup caster sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
3 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 vanilla pod
1. Split vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds, adding them to the caster sugar. Add lemon juice, strawberries and sugar to a medium-sized pot and give it a quick stir, then turn on your stove-top to medium heat. Place a saucer in the freezer.
2. Cook the berries for about 20-30mins, giving the pot an occasional stir so they don’t boil over, and making sure to skim the froth from the top. Once the berries have softened and the liquid has thickened, remove the saucer from the freezer and put a dab of jam on the back – if it forms a skin and ‘jellies up’, then immediately turn off the heat and store in a sterilized jar (or, if you have no jam jars, then a tupperware container in the freezer). If it slides straight down the back of the saucer then it’s not thick enough yet so put the saucer back in the freezer and leave it for another 5-10 minutes before trying the saucer trick again.
3. Enjoy said jam on a slice of toast, or…as the filling for a genoese sponge (as per my next post!)
Also, thank you to those who left comments letting me know that you’d be interested in my point-and-shoot camera users guide 🙂 I’ve decided to go ahead with it, and as Cindy left a specific request, that is where we’ll begin! Be sure to come back in a few days for my guide to “How to manage white balance”
I also plan on covering:
- On-camera flash – yay or nay?
- How to manage the bright (or not) light – exposure and how to use it
- Focus, DoF and bokeh
- Specifics – how to shoot in low, low light
- How to bring a dull photo back to life (using photo-editing software)
- Sharp, shiny and natural – managing highlights, lowlights and colours (using photo-editing software)
That’s all I can think of so far, but if you can think of anything else that you would like me to cover, then leave a message and let me know 🙂
[tags]recipes, strawberries, fruit, berries, jam[/tags]