Sunday, 23 September 2012

Cooking other people's gluts - strawberry jam

I don't know about where you live, but the strawberries are incredibly cheap at the moment.  I don't have any strawberries in my patch, but seeing as there is a glut of Queensland strawberries at the moment, I have decided to cook their glut.

I decided upon strawberry jam - funny, cause I don't usually like strawberry jam, I find it too sweet.  But  I figure that home-made strawberry jam tastes better than shop bought any time and I can make it less sweet than the shop bought variety, even if the strawberries have travelled a long way to get to me.

I got 6 large punnets for the price of 5 of strawberries  - a discount becasue I bought so many and it was the end of the day, at $2.50 each.  I decided to make my own recipe up, cause I like things a litle tart, I used half the sugar to the fruit (most recipes call for equal sugar to fruit) and added lemon juice and some tart apples. The rind of the lemon and the apples assist with the thickening as strawberries on their own have little pectin.

Strawberry Jam (* from the patch)
1.5 kgs hulled strawberries - cut chunky
750 gms sugar
rind cut from 1 lemon*
juice of 1 lemon*
2 Granny Smith apples grated - skin and all

Choose a heavy-based saucepan, tip strawberries in and add lemon rind and juice, cook on for a bit until strawberries soften a little. Add sugar and apples, stir and 'bloop' on a medium heat, stirring occasionally to make sure it isn't sticking.

The jam kind of tells you when it's ready - it changes colour and consistency.  To test, take a cold bread and butter dish and spoon some jam mixture onto the plate. Let it cool and push it with your finger. Does it wrinkle and sort of hold the wrinkle? If so your jam is done.

Remove the lemon rind and spoon into hot sterilised jars and seal. I got 5 jars from the 6 punnets.

Nice dark red in the jar, hey?

The jam is not exactly tart, but it is delicious and  much less sweet than the shop bought, much better for you per spoonful given it has less sugar.

But tell me if you know - how low can you push the fruit /sugar ratio?  I'd like to go lover than 1/0.5. What have proportion have you used with your jam making?


  1. In the US, they have this stuff called "Low Sugar/No Sugar Pectin". If you use that, you can drop the sugar to nothing and replace it with honey or fake sugar (of whatever kind.) I've only used one brand for one recipe and I haven't tinkered with the recipe. That's my only idea.

    1. Oh, I see, I wonder what that is here. I will look out for it. Is the Aussie crowd familiar with this?

  2. I like sweet jam, but Jodi from Every Day in the Garden has pushed the limits - she reckons you can go as low at 300g or sugar to the kilo of fruit. See her post here -

    1. Oh I like the idea of 300gms. I will take a look. Thanks!

  3. Bit late to the party (and you've probably already worked all this out) but you can buy pectin here to add to jam to help it set. Here it's in the baking aisle with things like flour and cooking chocolate. I haven't looked at it to see whether there's any sugar in it, but I don't know why there would be. I think the point of the sugar is to help preserve it (rather than to make it set) so I'm not entirely certain what dropping the quantities would do.



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