Donnerstag, 15. Mai 2014

Sugar sweet, if only they all knew...Jam!

Oh what have I done!
Those who know me, know that I am easily enthused. That's not necessarily a bad characteristic but with so many leisure activities you don't really have any free time left. Then again, at least I make good use of my off time and being creative is so much more unwinding than couching. So here we go with yet another first with the potential of becoming a new passion! ;-);-)

Last Friday as I was grocery shopping I found Strawberries on sale. Their sweet fragrance was mouthwatering and they were way too inexpensive to resist. And suddenly the thought of braving homemade jam ocurred to me. Plus, Mother's Day was coming up, and I thought that it would make a beautiful and unique gift.
Homemade jam is a lot easier to pull off than I thought it would be. Since this was my first atempt at preserving I chose to use gelling sugar.
Gelling sugar is a kind of sugar, which is used to produce preserves and which contains pectin as a gelling agent. It also usually contains citric acid as a preservative. It comes in three different varieties (1:1, 2:1 and 3:1) where the first number indicates the amount of fruit to be used in relation to the sugar.
I opted for the 2:1 gelling sugar.

First I sterilized the jars by running them through the dishwasher. I placed the lids in a saucepan of gently boiling water for about ten minutes. Then I removed the jar lids from the boiling water (use tongs!)and wiped them dry.
With that done, let's begin the fun part ;-)

Wash and hull the strawberries. Mash them in a bowl, I like to have small pieces of fruit in it so I was careful to leave some pieces unmashed. Place the strawberries in a pot. Choose a pot that is large enough so the mixture won't boil over when you add the gelling sugar. ;-) Bring the pot to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Take half a vanilla bean, slice in two, scrape the seeds out of both pod halves with the unsharpened side of your knife and add the and the pod to the strawberry mixture. This will give your jam a delicious, sweet vanilla note that harmonizes perfectly with the fruity taste of the strawberries. ;-)

Add the gelling sugar and return to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.

Remove the jam from the heat and skim off and discard any foam using a metal spoon. Fish out the vanilla pod and, using a jam funnel, fill the jars.

Wipe the jar rims and threads with a clean, damp cloth.

Place the lids on the jars, screw them on tightly and turn the jars upside down and leave them to cool. The hot jam will sterilize the lid and create a vacuum. I usually place the full jars on a baking tray (with some water in it) and put them in oven (at 150°C) for about half an hour. This way I am absolutely sure that the vacuum will work out. ;-) Then I just take out the tray an let the jars cool down (still in the tray). Et voilà!

Makes approximately six 350ml jars.