Strawberry & Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam

Jun 28, 2014 by

It’s strawberry season and rhubarb is just finishing off. It’s no coincidence that these fruits (well okay fruit and vegetable) go magnificently well together. So make the most of both and either get crumbling or make jam.

I bought a 4kg box of jam strawberries from a grower just outside Gorey, Co. Wexford – Green’s Berry Farm. If you are lucky enough to have access to a grower, this is the way to go. The strawberries are perfect but all shapes and sizes and not as cosmetic as supermarkets demand. (Why?)

My rhubarb is just about finished and this year I got three good crops from two plants. These last stems are slightly thin and a bit straggly but perfect for jam making or indeed crumble.

Strawberry Jam
I hate jam that is too sweet so I read a few recipes and then used considerably less sugar than any advised, including Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Darina Allen. Although it is low sugar and strawberries don’t contain a lot of pectin it set easily. (Always use a combination of under ripe and ripe berries if possible).

1kg of strawberries hulled and lightly crushed
400g Sure Set sugar (jam sugar)
Juice of a lemon

Put the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a large heavy based pan. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved, then bring to a boil. Keep it at a rolling boil.
Put a couple of small plates into the fridge. Using a jam thermometer *test for a set as soon as the temperature gets close to “jam set” point marked on the thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer (and it is really worthwhile to buy one) this takes about 15-20 minutes. You do not want to boil the bejaysus out of it as the colour will go from that nice red pictured to a brown.

Meanwhile sterilise jam jars by putting some water into each jar and zapping in a microwave for three minutes. You can also do this in the oven. (no need to add water in oven).

Allow the jam to stand for about 15 minutes and then pour carefully using a pyrex jug into your hot, sterilised jars. Cool and cap.

This recipe made a litre of jam.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam

500g rhubarb washed and chopped into small pieces
500g hulled strawberries
350g sugar
150g Sure Set sugar

Put the rhubarb, strawberries and sugar in a pan. Use method above. It may take slightly longer to soften the rhubarb and allow this in the time before bringing to a rolling boil. It reaches setting point faster however.

This quantity made just under 1.5 litres of jam.

*To test for a set – put a blob of jam on a cold plate and pop back in fridge for a few minutes. Run your finger through the blob and if it has reached setting point it will wrinkle slightly.

Jam keeps well in a warm, dry cupboard but once opened store in the fridge. It should keep unopened for a year. If there is any mould when you open it, just scoop it out. You can reboil it but a bit of mould never did me any harm.

In the depths of winter is there anything nicer than a big scoop of strawberry jam on a fresh scone?

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