Ok guys, in this recipe blog I’m going to describe the ingredients and methods we used when making strawberry jam. I will cover Ingredients used, Equipment to have at hand before you start and finally the method we used in our shop.
Jack & Hilda’s Strawberry Jam
I’m going to share with you the first secret we found when making jam for our shop. It may surprise you to know that we actually made our strawberry jam using frozen fruit. There are a few reasons we did this.
- Consistency of product
- Longevity of fruit and storage
- Even colour, texture and flavour, are believe it or not, much nicer. (Extensive testing)
Why did we make Strawberry Jam using Frozen Fruit?
Questions we found ourselves asking when we first set out on our venture and began creating and testing the menu are, most likely everyday questions, you’d ask yourself if going down the same route.
What if strawberries are not in season? You could find out that one delivery is much riper than the last, or not ripe at all. It can be pretty random and one of the most difficult aspects of a food retailer to monitor and keep on top of. For a customer that’s going to return they want to have consistency in your product.
Ordering fresh strawberries can be hard. It’s difficult to get the right weights for one as you’re in the shop/supplier and have to mentally calculate how much weight will be lost once you start to core the strawberries, do you need 2 punnets or 3?
Then, as a business, you have to factor in the additional time to core and cut them.
Cost of ingredients, Frozen strawberries are considerably cheaper than fresh when bought in bulk. Of course, if you are eating them raw then you’d want the fresh, but for a jam, taste and texture is, in our opinion, better.
Equipment and Tools required for Making Jam
So now let’s dive into the equipment you’re going to need…
Large Jam Pot
You don’t need a special ‘Jam pot’ handed down by generations of jammers, a normal pan will do, but it must be a heavy pan with a solid base. The reason for this is twofold.
One, heat dispersion and consistency. A heavy solid pan will give a better all-round heat quality than a cheaper split based pan and thus make a better, more even jam whilst avoiding the bottom just burning.
Secondly, you will most likely find that a thinner spit base pan will be cheaper, but don’t be fooled, it will end up being a single-use pan. In our experience these pans don’t last the test of time and more often than not the edge will burn and the base will split.
We prefer to use a hard rubber spoon than a traditional wooden spoon. The reason for this is staining. For a food retailer, it’s important to be able to clean utensils thoroughly, we felt that a wooden spoon, however ‘traditional’ or ‘authentic’ would become a hazard in the kitchen.
However, it’s up to you. But you do need a strong durable spoon to get going.
You will need roughly 500-700ml of jar space. Whether this is in tubs, jars or one big jar you’ll need something you can sterilize thoroughly.
“I will go into the difference in jars and how to sterilize in a later blog”
Fairly self-explanatory, but surprising how vital a jam funnel is. It’s just like a regular funnel but a much wider hole at the bottom ideal for pouring the jam into the jars and making no mess.
Other tools and equipment
The other tools and equipment you will need that you should already have in the home is a decent set of scales, 2 plates, a small size spoon, measuring spoons.
Ingredients List for Simple Strawberry Jam Using Frozen Fruit
I recommend starting will smaller amounts until to get the feeling. Packet frozen strawberries usually come in 1kg bags.
Defrost the strawberries about 1-2 hours before you’re going to use them. There’s no need to drain, just put 500g in a bowl, cover and leave in the fridge.
Work on roughly 70% of the fruit weight. Normal Granulated sugar is good, there’s no need for Jam sugar as we will add pectin.
2tsp(teaspoon) / 10ml
We don’t use juice from lemons as the consistency changes from lemon to lemon. Bottled lemon juice is much more predictable.
2tsp(teaspoon) / 10g
You’ll find some recipes that don’t use pectin. There is no reason not to (prove me wrong) and gives your Strawberry jam a more robust set.
Simple Strawberry Jam using Frozen Fruit
Before we start, I’ll reiterate, make sure you’ve taken the frozen strawberries out to defrost, there’s no use starting and then realising your fruit is still frozen.
Start by putting a small side dish in the freezer.
this will be used in the testing phase later to check if the jam is set or not before we remove it from the heat.
Second, you’re going to need to start the jam jars sterilising. This will be covered in a later blog.
Ok, now to weigh out the sugar, pectin and lemon juice. As we will be adding the pectin and lemon juice together you can combine now if you like and save on the washing up.
Now we’re all set, get the pan out and add the strawberries. Put the heat up to medium-high heat and bring it to a shallow bubbling boil.
Gradually add in the sugar in stages, keep gently stirring in a circular motion as you do.
*tip* don’t stir too aggressively, the jam forms due to long strands being made as to the sugar and fruit combine in the heat. Too much stirring and the jam can become runny. Slow sweeping constant circles are perfect.
**tip** Take great care at this point that the jam doesn’t boil over. This can be a rapid eruption like motion if left without stirring. You have been warned and you’ll only do it once! It will be hot!
Once all the sugar is added in then we will bring the jam to a boil again and once all the sugar is dissolved add in the pectin/lemon juice mix evenly in a sweeping chef like motion.
Once all the ingredients are added, reduce heat to medium-low or just until the jam is bubbling but not boiling. Keep stirring.
At this stage, you will have a minute or two to remove the sterilising jars and put them on a rack to dry. Keep stirring wherever possible.
Whilst the jam is cooking, especially with strawberry jam, you’ll find a froth/bubbles form on the top. To remove these simply use the spoon and scoop it out into a bowl. This will give your jam a nice clean colour. Although this doesn’t affect the jam or setting in any way, it is more pleasurable for the end result satisfaction.
Keep an eye on the jam, when the colour starts to change and the consistency becomes thicker than it’s time to take out the frozen plate.
Using a small spoon, put a blob on the plate (not the middle as you’ll probably do this more than once) and put it back in the freezer for 30-60 seconds.
Remove from the freezer and run the back of a spoon or your finger through the blob. See image.
If the side walls collapse, keep cooking for 4-5 more minutes then try again (don’t forget to put the plate back in the freezer.
Once the jam is ready, remove it from heat and pour it into the jars. Be careful as the jam and jars are going to be very hot. Leave to cool for 10-15 minutes and refrigerate.
Enjoy with Scones & Cream!!!