Jam Journey

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I have always perceived jam making as a rather intimidating past time that required years of honed-in skill and hours upon hours of labour. Albeit this belief, it was still something I had always been curious to try and a topic that a friend of mine and I regularly discuss as her parents are fabulous jam makers.

I’m sure anyone has noticed that lives in the same locale as me of south-east Queensland, how an unbelievably large abundance of strawberries are currently available and for such a small price. I used this time as the perfect opportunity to try my hand at making some strawberry jam. Needless to say the process was not what I had expected at all and I am now keen to work at and tweak my recipe and try other fruits. Marmalade anyone?

I sourced a very basic recipe and method; equal parts fruit to sugar with a third of a lemon juiced thrown in for good measure. Jam generally being made in such large quantities I find intimidating nor do I think I trust myself just yet to delve into so much beautiful produce with the possibility of waste. I instead opted for 1kg to be my starting batch. To get 1kg of fresh fruit by the time the stem is taken off and the bad ones taken out (and a few consumed) I purchased 2kgs of fruit and it gave me plenty to work with.

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RECIPE

1kg of strawberries, stems removed cut in half or thirded if large

1kg of sugar

1/3 lemon juiced

METHOD

In the large pot you wish to cook your jam in, place the strawberries and sugar. Mix together well and cover with a tea towel allowing it to sit for 2 hours to soften.

This was the part I loved and wasn’t expecting. Watching the fruit and sugar change its consistency was incredible, the colours and smells were amazing. My kitchen smelt like those little pink heart candies I remember buying at the local pool as a child. I took several photos of this process because it was just so pretty.

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This is what your mix should look like after 2 hours of hanging out. I couldn’t believe how much liquid was produced as the fruit softened and the sugar soaked up the strawberry juice.

At at this point add the lemon juice and put your pot over a medium heat and cook until the fruit softens. Once it was really soft I helped thing along a little with my trusty potato masher just to squish and break up some of the fruit. After it becoming a delicious candy smelling slightly thick mushy mess it was done.

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I popped it into sterilised jars and allowed it to cool. It made enough to fill 1 1/2 large ball mason jars.

Now my questions to you dear readers! I found my jam to be a bit runnier than store bought, is this normal for homemade, non-high pectin jam? It is absolutely delicious and would make even a great syrup but what are your tips and tricks for the perfect homemade jam? I would love to hear your thoughts so I can put them into practice as I have a few tweaks I would like to try myself! I’ll keep you updated on future batches.

*UPDATE*

I made a second batch which was perfect, check it out here.

Thanks for reading and your comments and tips in advance. Nadia B. Xx

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