One of the great things about fruit and veg 'glut' seasons is that even if you don't have a garden or allotment of your own, you can often take advantage of the abundant crops via the overflowing bargain aisles at your local supermarket.
I don't usually shop on a Sunday but popped to our local Co-op for a few essentials, and found these gorgeous looking strawberries and figs reduced for quick sale to under a pound a punnet. Too good to miss, and I was in need of jam for some Wimbledon-watching scones.
I like my jam to taste fresh and fruity, rather than very sweet and over-cooked, so my two top jam tips are:
- Less sugar, more fruit - the old 'rule' is that you weigh the fruit and use the same weight of sugar, but I always use less, for a fruitier, tarter jam.
- Cook it as quickly as possible - jam really doesn't need long to cook for very long at all, and the quicker you get it up to setting point and off the heat, the fresher and fruitier it will taste. I help the process along and get a really smooth texture by blitzing two thirds of the fruit in a blender before cooking, but this is completely optional and depends what sort of texture you prefer.
I tend to err on the side of a soft set rather than 'one slice or two' jam, but of course that's the beauty of homemade preserves - you can make them exactly the way you like them.
Fig & Strawberry Jam
- 600 g strawberries (2 medium punnets)
- 6 medium figs
- 800 g jam sugar (which has added pectin)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Remove the green tops from the strawberries, and the tough tips and bases from the figs. Blitz two-thirds of the fruit in a food processor or blender, (or mash with a fork), and cut the remaining third into chunks.
- Add the sugar and lemon juice and stir to combine.
- Tip the mixture into a large pan, and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, and cook until setting point is reached - usually just 4-5 minutes, (either reaching a temperature of 102C or when a dollop on a cooled saucer 'wrinkles').
- Remove from the heat, and pour into warm, sterilised jars.
For instructions on how to sterilise jars, take a look at this handy guide from BBC Good Food: How to Sterilise Jars