After years of experimentation, I can confidently say that this is the only strawberry jam recipe you will ever need.
The big secret is to minimise the cooking time once the sugar has been added; this maximises the fruit flavour, and stop the jam from just tasting like sickly overcooked sugar. The high sugar ratio is actually essential to create the quick set, so if you do reduce it (as many people want to!), be prepared for the jam to take much longer to set, and lose all of it’s fresh flavour in the process!
Although most ‘luxury’ jams include large pieces of fruit, I prefer a smoother texture. Giving the strawberries a smash with a potato masher creates the perfect mouthfeel for me, but feel free to experiment with the options I’ve given.
Now get jammin’!
- 800 g Strawberries
- 50 ml Lemon Juice ((about 1 large lemon))
- 1 kg Jam sugar
- a knob of butter
- Place a saucer into the freezer to test for set later.
- Place your jam jars, lids, jam funnel, and ladle into a cold oven, and set the temperature to 140c (120c fan).
- Hull the strawberries and cut in half. Cut larger strawberries into smaller pieces if necessary. Put the prepared strawberries into the pan as you go, then add the lemon juice and toss gently.
- Over a very low heat, slowly cook for 20-25 minutes, until the strawberries are floating in a bright red juice. The strawberries should just about maintain their integrity, but be very pale, like strawberry ghosts!
- If you like large pieces of fruit in your jam, move onto the next step of adding the sugar.If you like small pieces of fruit, use a potato masher to break up the softened strawberries into smaller pieces.If you like a smooth strawberry jam, use an immersion blender to liquidise the fruit completely.
- Add the jam sugar and stir to combine.
- Turn up the heat to high, and bring the jam to a violent, full rolling boil. Hold the rolling boil for 30 seconds, then turn off the heat.
- Place a small spoonful of the hot jam onto your cold saucer, and leave for 5 minutes to test for set.
- Stir a knob of butter into the hot jam, and then scrape the surface of the jam with a large metal spoon .You’ll want to carefully and thoroughly skim off all of the scum at this point, to ensure that your finished jam is beautifully clear.
- Returning to the saucer from before, push your finger through the small puddle of jam.The jam should wrinkle up over the end of your finger, and not flood back to fill the space.
- If for some reason the jam is not set, you can boil it for another few minutes and test again, although this method has never failed me yet!
- Leave the jam to cool for 20-30 minutes before putting into jars, to increase the chances of even fruit distribution; If you put the jam into jars immediately, the fruit will simply float to the top.
- Use your sterilised ladle and jam funnel to transfer the jam into the hot jam jars. A pair of overproof gloves with fingers is highly recommended for this task! A horseshoe magnet is very useful for lifting the lids onto the jars.
- Leave the jam jars to cool completely, then store in a cool dark place until needed.