My Signature Jam, Strawberry and Redcurrant
This might sound bizarre, most chefs have a signature dish, mine is a signature jam. This strawberry and redcurrant jam is my star recipe, and I’m proud of it.
The combination of these two red fruits works brilliantly together and this recipe works for me every time.
I do not believe in buying pectin enriched sugar or even adding pectin to my jams, I simply believe in following the method correctly, stick to the rules and persevere until the right temperatures are reached. I also believe in cooking jam in small batches, this way it is easier to control and to eliminate problems.
The choice of fruit plays a big role in the success of my tasty jams. I choose the variety ‘Cambridge Favourite’ strawberries for my jam. I go to my local PYO so that I can select the very ripe ones, this ensures that my jam is packed with flavour.
This jam makes a pretty gift and is prefect for my roasted strawberry scones served with a double helping of fresh clotted cream. It’s an excellent reminder of a fabulous summer.
- 600g strawberries
- 600g redcurrants
- 1200g caster sugar
- juice of one lemon
Hull,wash and quarter the strawberries, drain in a colander for 10 minutes.
Remove the stalks from the redcurrants , wash and drain.
Place the strawberries, redcurrants and sugar in an airtight container, cover and refrigerate over night. The fruits starts to bleed and the sugar begins to dissolve.
Scrape the fruits and sugar in to a heavy base saucepan, place over medium heat. Gently melt the un-dissolved sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved turn the heat up and bring to a vigorous boil.
Wash the edges of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in hot water; this will prevent the jam from crystallising. Do not stir the jam while it is boiling, this will encourage crystallisation. However I do lightly stir the jam a couple of times towards the last few minutes of cooking time to prevent the strawberries from catching at the bottom of the pan.
Boil the jam for about 10 -12 minutes, temperature 104°C – 106°C; this is the ideal setting point for the jam and add the juice of one lemon.
I do not use pectin or pectin rich sugar and for that reason, it is crucial to measure the temperature and follow the few rules outlined above.
When the correct temperature is reached remove the jam from the heat and add the juice of one lemon.
Make sure you hands are clean or wear disposable gloves.
Have your jam jars ready, cleaned and sterilised, as it is important to decant the hot jam as soon as possible.
Place a small cartouche of parchment paper directly on to the hot jam and close the jar immediately whilst the jam is hot.
Cool the jam jars, clean and label them.
Makes 6 250g jars of jam
Food Fanatics Tips
Crystallisation of Jam: It’s pretty annoying when this happens. Normally it’s only visual once the jam has cooled down completely. I have three simply preventable reasons why crystallisation could happen.
- One is if the sugar and fruit start to boil before all the “raw” sugar crystals have dissolved.
- Two is once the sugar has dissolved and the jam reached the vigorous boiling stage you did not wash the edges with a pastry brush dipped in hot water. As the “raw” sugar crystals get stuck to the edge of the pan and falls back in to the boiling syrup,the larger un-dissolved crystals accumulate molecules and this encourages the growth of large crystals know as crystallisation.
- Third is that you should never stir boiling jam or sugar syrup for that matter. If you do stir the boiling syrup it knocks the sugar crystals together and encourages the formation of larger crystals and crystallisation sets in once cooled.
Sterilising the jars: This is one of the most crucial tasks that you should never cut corners . If you not do this properly you might find your jam becomes mouldy and ferments sooner than expected.Preheat the oven to 100°C. Wash the jars in hot soapy water; do not dry them with a tea towel. Place the damp jars and lids on a clean baking tray; try not to touch the jars and lids on the insides. Place them in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Let the jars cool slightly before you scoop in the jam.
Other pointers are -never pour cold liquid in to hot glass jars, you will end up with broken glass, - take extra care when sterilising the jars, as if they are overheated they might explode.