Creating a Perfect Strawberry JamPosted 23/12/2008 by Anna Hollisey
Baking the perfect scones is well and good, but you’re going to need some perfect jam to spread on them. In this article we cover the basics of jam-making and a recipe for a decadent Strawberry and Champagne Jam. Just pile it onto Freshly-baked Scones, top with Clotted Cream, and enjoy!
Compensating For Low Pectin Content
Strawberries have a low pectin content, and this is what makes jam set. There are a number of ways to compensate for this: you can add plenty of lemon juice (which balances the sugar, but can mask the strawberry flavour), you can use an ingredient, such as apples or rhubarb, which has high pectin content, or you can use Pectin Sugar in your recipe.
Including an extra fruit, such as rhubarb or apple, is a great solution. You can substitute half of the fruit (in our recipe below, or any of the strawberry jam recipes you may find in books) with chopped apple or rhubarb. Add either ingredient at the start of cooking to give it time to soften sufficiently. You will still need a little lemon juice, but not quite as much.
Our Perfect recipe, below, will give a softly set jam for your Afternoon Tea. We think this is simply perfect for dolloping onto scones, and our testers didn’t mind the gentle wobble of the jam on the knife! Because of the champagne content, this jam is best kept in the refrigerator and eaten fairly quickly; so we have suggested making a small amount at a time.
Luxury Strawberry And Champagne Jam
This lovely preserve has just a hint of champagne, you can use ordinary Cava to the same effect – which makes it suitable for lots of baking recipes. Try it in a Victoria Sponge, too!
- 250g (9oz)strawberries, washed, hulled and chopped – reserve some small berries to add at the end.
- 200g (7oz) sugar with added pectin (labelled for jam making).
- 100ml (3½fl oz ) Champagne (or Cava)
- 30ml (2tbsp) lemon juice.
First put two saucers into the freezer for testing later. Put a large, heavy pan on a low heat, and put in most of the berries, the sugar, and the champagne. Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves, then squeeze in the lemon juice and bring the jam very slowly to a gentle, gentle simmer. The aim is to keep the strawberries as intact as possible, and avoid losing too much alcohol! Let the pan putter gently for five minutes while you sterilise a jar (preferably Kilner, of 0.5l capacity). Wash it in soapy water, then put it into the oven on a low heat (50ºC) to dry out.
Test the jam for set: Remove a saucer from the freezer and put a teaspoonful of jam onto it. After 30 seconds or so, push it gently with your finger. If it wrinkles on the surface, the jam is ready to be potted. If not, continue to simmer the jam very gently, adding a splash more lemon juice.
When it’s ready, stir in the remaining strawberries, turn off the heat, and leave for a moment to incorporate them into the jam. Spoon the warm jam into the warm jar and seal it immediately. Store the jam in the fridge. Use it within a month; you’ll soon find ways to incorporate it in all your baking!
To serve as part of Afternoon Tea: Remove the jam from the fridge an hour before your tea, so it’s not fridge-cold. It’s traditional to spread your warm scones first with jam, and then with a spoonful of clotted cream on top. See our article about getting the very best clotted cream!