What is not there to love about a strawberry jam? It is sweet and filled with the wonderful flavour of strawberries. It is also very nutritious. You can use it on a lot of meals. The most common way to use it is on breads or pastries. But beyond that, you can also use it on various desserts.
There are many benefits to using jam on your bread. Unlike the alternatives, it is healthier and free from bad cholesterol. Jam also uses pectin – a natural substance that is in strawberries. It can help prevent cancer and improve your skin, fingernails, and hair. It helps with constipation problems and even bone loss. After all, a strawberry jam is rich in fiber. The nutrients that you will get from it will help you get the energy that you need throughout the day. The more ripe the strawberry, the more it is packed with nutrients. If the jam is made with chunks of the fruit, it can also help keep your heart healthy.
How to make the perfect strawberry jam
You can buy strawberry jams in the grocery or market. But why do that if you can make your own? It is more simple than you think. If you can get a huge batch of these strawberries, you can create this jam yourself. That way, you can make as much as your family can consume and you will be sure about how the jam is made.
Here are the simple instructions to make your own strawberry jam.
- Clean the strawberries by wiping with a damp kitchen paper. Do not put under running water as it will cause the fruit to absorb the water and thus have problems with setting.
- Hull the fruit with a knife. After removing the stem, cut the larger berried in half.
- Place the strawberries in a bowl and toss the sugar. Mix gently. For the next 12 hours, leave the mixture uncovered at room temperature. This will allow the sugar to dissolve and at the same time, will keep the fruit from too much disintegration. This will also preserve the vibrant red colour of the fruit.
- Put two saucers in your freezer.
- To start, pour the strawberry mixture in a preserving pan with lemon juice. Set it over low heat and cook gently. If you see sugar remains along the side of the pan, use a pastry brush dipped in hot water and brush it away.
- When no sugar remains, you can turn the heat up to allow the jam to bubble and boil. Make sure you only do this after the sugar is dissolved to ensure that it will not be difficult for the jam to set. This will also keep lumps of sugar from forming on the final product.
- Keep boiling hard for 5 to 10 minutes until after the jam reaches 105C. Use a preserving or digital thermometer to check. Once you reach the temperature, turn off the heat. In case you do not have a thermometer, you can spoon a small amount of jam into one of the cold saucers that you have in the freezer. Leave it for 30 secs then push with your finger. When the jam wrinkles and does not fill the gap, you are done. If not, then you need to keep heating the jam some more. Wait for 2 minutes and then repeat until you reach the desired reaction of the jam.
- With a spoon, skim and discard the scum that has risen to the surface. Do this only once and at the end so you can keep the waste at a minimum.
- If preferred, you can stir in some butter until it melts into the jam.
- Leave the jam to settle for 15 minutes. While waiting, you can sterilise your jars.
- Ladle the jam into the warm jars – until you reach just below the rim. To prevent mildew from forming, you can place a wax disc on top of the jam. Cover with a lid or you can choose to use a cellophane circle and secure with an elastic band.
- Make sure you label and place the date on the jar so you will know when it expires. A jar of strawberry jam can keep for a year if it is stored properly in a cool and dry place. Once opened, make sure you keep it refrigerated.
Tips when making your strawberry jam
Here are important tips when making strawberry jam.
- Make them in small batches – 6 cups of mushed strawberries at a time (that is around 12 cups of raw strawberries). The pectin in the fruit, when heated for too long will lose the ability to thicken the mixture. When you have a huge batch of strawberries, you need to keep it boiling for a longer time.
- Boil the strawberries rapidly to preserve the pectin that is in the fruit.
- Store bought strawberries are usually less solid and more airy (caused by the unripe picking and shipping). Since they are less dense than the sugar solution, you need to crush the strawberries more and simmer a few minutes longer before adding the sugar. This will keep the floating fruits to a minimum when the jam sets.
- It is okay to use frozen strawberries as long they do not have syrup.
Keep these tips in mind when making your own strawberry jam.