This delicious strawberry jam is infused with festive winter spices to give it a christmassy taste; it's perfect all through winter and especially for breakfast on christmas morning!
You can make it at any time, but obviously summer is best because the price of soft fruit is at its lowest and you can get it locally sourced.
This recipe is very simple and contrary to popular belief jam-making is not actually hard at all! Once made it will keep for between 6 months and a year.
Note: main picture shows last year's marmalade not strawberry jam! But pictures below are this years.
Remove the stems and wash your strawberries then weigh them. Work out how much sugar you will need based on around these examples:
450g strawberries = 500g jam sugar
900g strawberries = 1000g jam sugar
1200g strawberries = 1300g jam sugar
Make a note of your measurement and add the strawberries to a large pot on the stove.
To this add water. For every 300g of strawberries add 50ml of water.
Now using a potato masher or failing that a large spoon or fork, mash the strawberries into a rough pulp. Turn the heat on and start cooking the strawberries on the stove, so that they simmer rapidly.
While the strawberries cook take the spices you have available which can be any, some or all of the following: cinnamon; ginger; mixed spice; juniper berries; star anise; cloves.
Take the spices that need infused (i.e. cant just be eaten whole as they are) and crush them. Then add these to 75ml of boiling water and let them infuse for 10 minutes at least.
Example of amounts:
For 1200g strawberries I use 1tsp cloves, 1tsp juniper berries and 1 star anise.
Once the spices are infused seive the mixture into a bowl to remove the kernels. Seive as many times as necessary then add the pre-ground spices you have and mix into the infused liquid.
I use for 1200g strawberries 2tsp cinnamon, 1tsp ginger and 1tsp mixed spice.
Once the strawberries are well cooked remove the scum from the top with a spoon and then add the infusion and cook another few minutes.
Next add the jam sugar based on the measurements you worked out when weighing the srawberries. Now stir this until dissolved and boil the mixture. Be careful not to get too close or touch it because it will burn.
While the jam is boiling take your jars (pre washed) and remove the lids and anything that is not metal or glass. Put these in a medium oven for several minutes to steralise them. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool before moving them.
You need the jam to reach 127 degrees celcius if you have a thermometer. However, if not there is an easy way to test. When the jam has boiled for a while take a plate and carefully spoon a bit of jam on it. Place it in the fridge for a minute. Then test it by pressing it with your finger. If the jam has a film on top, and starts to wrinkle it is ready. If not and it is still runny, boil more and try again.
Once you have taken the jam off the heat transfer it to the jam jars which should be sitting on a wooden board or similar to protect from heat. You can use a ladle but I tend to use pyrex jug as it is easier to control and stops jam going everywhere.
Fill the jars very close to the top and then allow them to cool. Don't touch the jars as they will be very hot. Once they are cool you can put the lids on and wipe them clean if necessary.
Your jam should taste deliciously fruity and spicy like a subtle mince pie!
Finally decorate the jars. This image is of marmalade I made last christmas in the same way as the jam, because I am not going to decorate the jams until this christmas. You can use just plain labels or tags if you want. To replicate this cut squares of christmas fabric and place over the lid, securing with an elastic band. Then tie tight with ribbon and remove the elastic band. Onto the ribbon add another ribbon which has tied to it cinnamon sticks and dried out citrus slices. You can also add a tag; I made tags by cutting small motifs from used christmas cards, and punching a hole in them. For a last touch get a christmassy fragrance and spray the fabric!