I recently went to Norfolk for a weekend escape from London. It was so refreshing! Long walks on the beach, a boat trip to spot seals at Blakeney Point and homemade strawberry jam made for a very good weekend indeed! We stayed in Brancaster which you can drive to in about 2 and a half hours from London. It’s a little village with its own bay and a very good pub, The Ship, which serves local seafood. I made jam the day before for the first time to take on the trip. The reason for finally making jam was that I had bought two punnets of strawberries at Borough Market and they were, sadly, tasteless!
I had always thought that jam making would be a difficult affair with thermometers, pectin, sieves and muslin but it wasn’t! All I did was halve the strawberries and boil them with sugar and water until the mixture was fizzing and almost cascading down the outside of the pan. It was a little looser than bought jarred jam but none the less delicious!
I had been given a book called ‘Let’s Preserve It’ by Beryl Wood (Square Peg) which is full of recipes for jams, jellies and chutneys. It was first published in 1970 and it is full of beautiful little illustrations of the ingredients. It is organised alphabetically by ingredient. The start of the book has several pages explaining the general rules of making jams, jellies and chutneys but the actual recipes have the bare bones of instructions. For example it didn’t say whether to leave the strawberries whole or to cut them. So, I decided to halve them which seemed to be an on the fence compromise! I thought that this would also make them more manageable in the jam if they didn’t reduce much.
What you need:
A touch of water
Lemon juice (from one lemon) is one of the ingredients but I didn’t have any and the jam was yummy without but do add some if you feel like it. The type of sugar wasn’t specified so I used caster.
What you need to do:
1. Wash and hull the strawberries, then halve them.
2. Put the sugar in a heavy bottomed large pan with a splash of water.
3. Put the pan on the hob and turn the heat to medium. Let the sugar melt and form a syrup with the water.
4. Once the sugar has dissolved and you have a syrup, add the strawberry halves and simmer.
5. Keep simmering. The mixture may boil and fizz which is fine! It did alarm me a little though!
6. When the strawberries have reduced and it is starting to look like a jam scoop a little out on a teaspoon a put it on a plate. If it is quite runny it needs to be cooked more. If it is quite dense and sticky it should be ready. You can tell for sure if it is ready by seeing if the surface of the jam wrinkles as it cools.
7. When it is ready let it cool a bit then pour it into a jar or tupperware.
Enjoy with some delicious bread!
Seal spotting at Blakeney Point.
Seals enjoying the sun.
Riding on the beach – how nice indeed!
We found this twisted and torched tree in the wood next to the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea and wondered if it had been struck by lightning.
Llamas being taken for a walk!
‘Let’s Preserve It’ by Beryl Wood full of jam, jelly and chutney recipes.