Tuesday, 26 July 2011

My first attempt at jam making

The last 48hrs have seen me in full blown jam making mode.
So impressed was I with the flavour of the strawberries I picked in Driffield last week, that I was determined to go again and make jam to preserve that flavour of summer.

After a lot of rain last week I wasn't sure what state the strawberry field would be in but non the less I went down on Sunday afternoon and it was fairly dry under foot. Optimistically I took a large punnet but it was a bit of a struggle as the strawberries were nearing an end. I had hoped there would be enough left to be selective so I could pick uniform small sized ones for the jam but I had to pick any size that looked ripe and even then I didn't fill the punnet.

So I returned home with about 800g for jam making and some spare to eat.

That evening I prepared the strawberries, opting for the leave overnight layered in sugar method to give me a head start the next morning.

The next morning I enthusiastically popped my strawberries in sugar into the pan along with my lemon juice and started to heat slowly to dissolve the sugar. All was going well.

However, the aga wasn't hot enough to get a rapid boil so I transfered to a camping stove and soon there was a lovely pink froth and a sweet smell in the air. I think at that point I realised my cooking pot might not be big enough so I transferred to another pan and put it back on the aga as it was now frothing too much.

Not long and disaster struck, I looked away for a minute and the jam boiled over, the above picture is after I cleaned all the sticky mess up! All I could smell then was burnt jam! 
After the allocated boiling time I tried the set test on a chilled saucer and nothing, it was as runny as water still. 

It was on and off the boil on both camping stove and aga for the next hour trying to get the stuff to set. I was rapidly losing enthusiasm and the strawberries had begun to lose their shape. 
I took the decision if it wasn't set I'd try some more another day and try the pectin method and I'd just bottle up what I had made and call it a sauce!

About 3 hrs after starting, here is the jam bottled.

I can happily reveal that after it cooled, I had some that night for supper and it had set quite well but more importantly it tasted good. Yippee, all was not lost!

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