|That is enough strawberry picking for now, let's have morning tea.|
|Neil and Paul picking strawberries.|
After all, strawberry jam has been around forever and it is time we became a little bit more creative with its flavour. Luckily, I have also been looking for another culinary use for my rose scented geraniums, besides enhancing chocolate cake, and Neil agreed that the rose geranium would be a nice, subtle, flavour enhancer to the strawberry jam.
The daily fragrance of the Rose Scented geranium when I water the garden also takes me back to my time living at home when my Mum and I used to visit the old-fashioned St. Aubin's herb farm in Rockhampton near the airport, now a village nursery, and where the mesmerising smell of the rose scented geraniums always wafted above the other herbal aromas to greet us and say goodbye. Perhaps I have tried to recreate the essence of that memory in my own garden. Enough reminiscing, let's make jam.Spring is in the air.
2 kg small ripe strawberries
1.7 kg sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
1 50g sachet of Fowlers Jamsetta with Pectin
8 average sized jam bottles
A handful of rose scented geranium leaves (optional)
A square of muslin
- Hull the strawberries and discard any spoiled fruit.Set aside about 10 of the smallest berries, and then mash the rest up into a rough pulp. Put them into a wide, thick-bottomed pan, add the the sugar, and the lemon juice and leave for 30 minutes to soften the sugar and bring the strawberries to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, prepare your bottles and lids for sterilising in the oven or the dishwasher. Place 2 saucers in the freezer for testing the setting point later.. This quantity makes about 8 average size bottles of jam. Prepare your geranium leaves by tying them up in a square of muslin, as you would with Bouquet Garni, and secure with string. Or if you would prefer a little bit of extra texture in your jam, chop them very finely and add to your mixture as you bring it to the boil. I might try this next time.
- Add the Fowler's Jamsetta Pectin Powder, and geranium bag to the mixture and bring the pot to the boil on a high heat. Boil the jam for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly, and checking the setting point every minute or so during the last 5 minutes. Do this by placing a teaspoon of jam on the cold saucer from the freezer, and put it back in the freezer to cool a minute. Take it out and if it wrinkles when you push it with your finger, then it is done.It should be ready after five minutes of testing if not before. However, don't be tempted to overcook the jam, as it can move past its setting capacity.
- Strawberry jam is unlikely to set very solid like marmalade, and is difficult to tell if it is set from the mixture in the pot. If you think it is setting on the saucer, have faith that it will set in the bottles when it cools.
- Take the pot off the heat and skim off the pink scum. Pour into warm sterilised jars through a wide funnel, and cover with sterilised lids, or Fowlers Vacola Kleerview transparent preserve covers and rubber bands, if you are out of lids.
When the jam has cooled and set, pat yourself on the back because strawberries are one of the most difficult fruit to make jam from.
Having said all of the above, would you believe that I am an amateur at jam making, and this is my first batch of strawberry jam, and it worked. So you can do it too.