Luke and I have always wanted to make jam, but until now, we hadn’t found the time to try it out. Making our own strawberry jam has always seemed like quite a daunting task to me. I’ve always imagined so much going wrong – namely either burning the sugar and making a complete mess of my kitchen and saucepan, or spilling molten hot jammy syrup all over myself or Luke and ending up in hospital with 2nd degree burns. Neither of those sounds like fun.
This strawberry jam recipe is actually really easy.
But it turns out that I needn’t have worried at all. Making jam is actually really easy, way easier than I anticipated. In fact, it’s so easy that I shouldn’t really class it as cooking because you barely need to do anything once you get going. This strawberry jam recipe is really easy and simple to make and is perfect to give as gifts or a great way to use your Pick-Your-Own strawberries.
Whole fruit strawberry jam always takes me back to my childhood.
I love a jam that’s got texture, so I wanted to make sure that the jam we made still had big chunks of strawberry in it. When I was younger, I remember coming up to Surrey and staying with my Grandpa. We always had a proper breakfast: cereal, toast (from a toast rack!), butter, jam, tea and juice. Whenever I have a piece of jam on toast, it always takes me back to being a child and scooping out a big jammy strawberry from the jam jar and spreading it on my piece of toast. I wanted to recreate that taste and texture as much as possible because I really wanted Luke to have a taste of my childhood, so that’s why I’ve chosen to share this strawberry jam recipe with you all.
My grandpa used to grow his own strawberries, but we also used to venture out to various pick-your-own farms around the area. There are some really great places to visit locally, but it was always nice to make a day of it and explore somewhere new as well. There are some really lovely Pick Your Own Strawberry farms in Kent and East Sussex if you live locally that I would thoroughly recommend.
You need a 50/50 ratio of fruit and sugar for this strawberry jam recipe.
I made this jam based on a recipe that I received from my dad. I weighed a punnet of strawberries (after removing the leaves) and used the same amount of sugar so the ratio was 50/50. I then used a good splash of lemon juice, probably about an entire lemon’s worth as lemon juice is loaded with pectin. You can use jam making sugar, but that’s simply normal sugar with added pectin. If you already have lemons lying around, this is a much easier and cheaper option.
Equipment needed for my whole fruits strawberry jam recipe.
I assumed that I’d need to splash the cash and buy a jam pan and pectin and all sorts of other things, but that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, besides the strawberries, I already had everything else needed to make the strawberry jam recipe in my kitchen cupboards.
Before you get started, you need to make sure you’ve got the following things to hand.
- A big pan with a thick base, the thicker the base, the better. I used a normal pan as that’s what was advised and whenever I’ve looked at other recipes, I’ve never seen anyone use non-stick.
- Scales to weigh the sugar and fruit.
- A wooden spoon to stir the jam with occasionally.
- Sterilised jars for storing jam.
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How to sterilise jam jars.
If you happen to have a few jars from pasta sauces, pickles, previous jams etc lying around in your recycling pile, this is a great way of reusing them. Make sure that you wash your jars thoroughly, including the lids, in very hot water. Sterilising the jars kills off all the bacteria that would otherwise affect the life expectancy of your jam, so it’s an important step that shouldn’t be skipped.
In the oven.
To sterilise the jars, place them upside down in the oven and ensure none of the jars are touching. Remove and rubber seals and place the lids into the oven too. Close the oven door and heat the oven to about 120 degrees C – keep them at this temperature for about 10 – 15 minutes. Remove the jars as they’re needed and place on a heat proof mat.
In the dishwasher.
If you have a dishwasher, you can sterilise your jars by running them through on the hottest cycle and removing them from the dishwasher as and when you need them.
In the microwave.
Fill your jars half way with hot water and run them in the microwave for about 30 seconds to a minute, depending on the size of your jars. Use the jars while they’re still hot.
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Keeping soft fruits firm.
Like I mentioned earlier, I like a good lump of strawberry on my toast. The secret to keeping soft fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, an plumbs firm is to cover the fruits with sugar the day before. Place your fruit in a bowl and cover them with the amount of sugar you’re using. The sugar will absorb much of the water from the fruits, leaving them tough enough to withstand the boiling process. The sugar then turns into fruit syrup when making the jam, so no flavour is lost.
Strawberry jam recipe – potential issues.
Sometimes there are issues that arise when making jam – here are some common strawberry jam recipe issues and their solutions.
- Sugar Crystals in the jam. This happens when the sugar has not been fully dissolved before the final boil occurs. It is still edible but the texture will be gritty. If the jam in your pan looks gritty or still has white sugar in it, keep heating it gently until the mixture is clear and glossy.
- Runny jam that hasn’t set. The final boil is a vital part of jam making as it’s this part of the recipe that enables you to reach the ‘setting point’. To test your jam is ready to be jarred, place a saucer in the freezer for a few minutes until it’s cold. When it’s ready, place a small amount of jam onto it and wait a few seconds for it to cool. Poke the jam lightly with your finger, if a wrinkly skin appears your jam is ready.
- Frothy scum on the surface of your jam. The scum that forms is a mixture of all the impurities and can be removed. Wait until you’re just about to start your final boil and use a spoon to scoop off as much scum as possible.
Easy Whole Fruits Strawberry Jam Recipe
This recipe makes enough for about one jar of jam. If you want to make more jam, simply increase the weight of he fruit and make sure you use equal amounts of sugar. If you’re increasing the amount of fruit and sugar used, make sure you also increase the amount of lemon juice as this is where the pectin comes from that helps the jam to set.
How To Use This Whole Fruit Strawberry Jam
Spread this jam on buttery crumpets or thick toast for a delicious, filling breakfast. Alternatively, this strawberry jam makes a great base for so many other incredible desserts. Try creating a classic Bakewell tart using this strawberry jam, or try your hand at baking a classic jam roly-poly. These recipes can be enhanced with some irresistible dessert dressings like this range from Dessert Parlour; the white chocolate sauce sounds mouth watering.
Easy Whole Fruits Strawberry Jam Recipe
- Large, thick bottomed sauce pan.
- Wooden Spoon
- Sterilised Jam Jars
- 350 g Strawberries
- 350 g Sugar
- Large Splash Lemon Juice
- Remove leaves from strawberries and place in a bowl. Cover with the sugar and leave over night/for several hours.
- Place sugar and fruit into a large pan and slowly heat the mixture up until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Make sure all the sugar is completely dissolved by stirring the jam. It should be clear and may have scum on top. Make sure there's no gritty texture when stirring.
- Use a spoon and remove any scum that's formed on top of the jam.
- Turn the heat up so that your jam is at a rolling boil (stirring it shouldn't pop the bubbles). Boil the jam for 5 minutes and then remove from the heat.
- Add a tea spoon of jam to your cold plate. If a skin forms, the jam is ready to transfer into jars. If it doesn't for a skin, boil for a few more minutes.
- Pour/ladle the jam into jars while they're still hot. Place the lids on the jar and leave to cool. The seal on the jar will be sucked downwards as the jam cools.