Strawberry Picking & Jam Making
I absolutely love to go strawberry picking, it’s become a summer holiday tradition for Lil G and I, not only do we eat our own body weight in berry goodness, but I love to make a stockpile of homemade jam from our harvest (recipe at the bottom of this post). There isn’t anything better than wandering down rows of berry beds and carefully selecting the perfect berries to come home with us.
For this trip we went to Kumeu, just off the North Western Motorway. So, have you been inspired and picked masses of strawberries for yourself? If you have and you want a go at making some jam, check out the recipe below that I follow each year, I promise it’s not that hard!
- 1kg of Strawberries
- 1kg packet of jam sugar (especially made for jam making!)
- 1 tsp/knob of butter
- Large saucepan (a big one you would use for pasta with high sides)
- Wooden spoon
- 4-5 recycled jars with lids
- 1 pack of transparent jam jar covers (now, you don’t have to have these, but they are easy enough to find at the supermarket and enable a nice, airtight seal which is made for storage and are great to use with recycled jars when the lids have been opened/popped. Of course, if you buy the special jars with the proper lids and stuff, go you!)
Now, I use the jam-making sugar as it has Pectin in it already (the stuff that helps the jam set) and makes the process speedy and pretty foolproof.
First things first; heat your oven to 120°c wash the jars/lids in hot soapy water removing any labels, rinse and pop them onto an oven tray upright. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, turn off the oven and leave them to hang out in there while you do the below.
Pop your plate into the freezer, we will use it later. Start by washing your berries, chop the tufts off and cut into chunks. Weigh them and double check you have a kilo (you need equal parts fruit to sugar for jam). Pop the berries into your pot on a medium heat and cook them for 15 minutes or so until they are soft, as if you were making apple sauce.
Mash the berries up with your masher. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth, just less lumpy. If you want your jam smooth, whiz it with a stick blender (but be careful). Add the sugar to the pot and stir gently while bringing to a solid boil. Add your knob of butter. Allow to boil for 10 minutes, stirring now and then so it doesn’t burn. Skim off the foam with your spoon, very carefully and discard.
Now, grab that plate out of the freezer and with a teaspoon, drop a little jam on the plate. With your finger, push it a bit to see if it wrinkles. If it does, you’re done! If not, allow it to boil for a few more minutes and check again.
Take your jars out of the oven and carefully decant your (super, crazy, 1st degree burn inducing hot) jam into your jars. Follow the instructions on the seal packet for how to seal them and allow to cool on the bench before moving them.
Add some labels and some fabric over the lids and marvel at your domesticity!