Thursday, 14 June 2007

Making Jam

The year is passing quickly and its time to make jam again. I retrieved my preserving pan from the loft to make a batch of strawberry jam. I picked the strawberries at a Pick Your Own just a few miles from home and we enjoyed strawberries for tea before I made the rest into jam.
My strawberry jam recipe is from an old cookery book I bought a few years ago. I like the recipe as it has a higher proportion of fruit than sugar.

The book is the Good Housekeeping Cookery Book and it was first published in 1925. Here is the recipe copied exactly as written. I like the old fashioned sounding instructions.

Strawberry Jam with Lemon

Proportions.-- To 3lb. strawberries allow the juice of 1 lemon and 2 1/4lb. sugar.

The small or medium-sized red strawberries are the best for preserving. Pick the fruit and carefully reject any that is unsound. Put it into the preserving pan and bring it to the boil stirring all the time. Meanwhile have the sugar weighed out, crushed if necessary, and made very hot in the oven. Add it gradually to the fruit without letting it go off the boil. Pour in the strained lemon juice, and boil together until the jam will stiffen.

I particularly like the phrase " boil together until the jam will stiffen" because without adding pectin strawberry jam can take an age to boil to setting point. Mine has set though it could be described as a "soft set", still yummy though.

I used to seal my jam jars with wax paper circles and the cellophane secured with elastic bands but I have now found that providing the lids are in good condition then the jars can be sealed with the lids alone. If the hot glass jars are filled with the hot jam and the lids which have had boiling water poured on them are screwed on immediately then the cooling jam pulls a vacuum and seals the jar. I've used this method for several years now and have only had a couple of failures so some of the jars have been used for several years and they still seal. You can be sure that the jar has sealed securely if the lid becomes depressed in the middle after cooling. Any jars that don't do this we use straight away.


the flour loft said...

Thought i had the same book, but it is a later version first published in 1948 'Good Housekeeping's Cookery Book. There is a strawberry jam recipe with lemons but using 4lb fruit, 31/2 lbs sugar and the juice of 4 lemons. There is also one using 4lb of both sugar and strawberries and 2lb of red currants to aid setting. We must go strawberry picking, don't think we have enough alpine ones for jam although they are everywhere. Wanted to say thank you for the book reccommendation. I have just started reading ' Timeless Simplicity'. Have a lovely weekend. ginny x

rhonda jean said...

My strawberry jam was soft set this year too, but the flavour is intense and delicious. I hope yours is too.

I love those french jam jars, I use them too. I've never seen the green lids though. What was in the original jar?

willow said...

I hope you are enjoying the book. I always wonder after I've recommended a book whether others will like it after all.

rhonda jean
The green lids are actually from the larger jars of fruit compote, the lids are the same size and I like the green ones. I buy the apricot compote as I can't grow apricots here though I've just read on your blog that do - I'm a bit jealous!

rhonda jean said...

willow, I must confess, we bought those apricots at the market. It's too warm here for apricots, but I do grow a lot of other fruit, namely peaches, nectarines, lemons, oranges, bananas, raspberries, grapefruit and passionfruit. Like you, I would love to grow apricots.