Bob Marley knew a thing or two about making jam. Surprising, but there it is. What is less surprising is that my mother is the world’s best strawberry jam maker, but the world at large may not know this. She does not look much like Bob Marley though. I have spent the past couple of days learning the mysteries of her jam making. It has been a delightful experience though I somehow doubt my jam is going to be quite as delicious as hers. There seemed to be an awful lot of unmeasurable imprecision going on. Her recipe includes amounts like ‘a good knob of butter’ and times such as ‘boil until done’. I think this is why she is the world’s best strawberry jam maker. I suspect it is an instinctive art. However, she swears the key to her success is the freshness of the berries.
So, yesterday morning we went picking. It wasn’t exactly foraging as we had to pay, but it felt closer to the wild side than visiting the supermarket. The weather was perfect. Brilliant sunshine shone down onto the straw strewn aisles with dark green foliage ineffectually hiding the ruby red berries. In no time at all we had picked full baskets.
Our strawberry stained fingers carried them to be weighed and within the hour they had been turned into jam. No moonlight incantations were involved. No spitting over shoulders or running widdershins nine times around fairy rings either. Just my mother’s own particular brand of jam wizardry. Which, despite her watchful eye and careful instruction, I am not entirely sure I have mastered. Whatever it was, I am pleased to report a set. It is true, it is a soft set, but a set is a set, nevertheless.
Pleasingly, I had several strawberries left over. Enough to make some Strawberry and Rose Petal Syrup. Have I shared this recipe with you? If not, I must. It’s a good ‘un. Meanwhile, I give you my Mum’s Strawberry Jam
Mum’s Strawberry Jam
Makes about 4.5kg
Juice of one lemon
1 bottle Certo (liquid pectin)
Wash strawberries, place in preserving pan and crush. Add lemon juice and sugar. Heat slowly until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Add a good knob of butter to reduce foaming. Bring quickly to a full rolling boiling, and boil rapidly until done (about 10 minutes ish), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in Certo, skim if necessary. Pot and seal.