Place the strawberries in a preserving pan (or a really BIG saucepan – you won’t want it boiling over, trust me!) with the lemon juice and simmer gently for 20-30 minutes – stir occasionally to stop the fruit sticking. You’ll know when they are ready because they will be soft. Remove the pan from the heat and add the sugar, stirring until it is dissolved.
Add the knob of butter (if you wish).
Return to the heat and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for about twenty minutes, stirring frequently. If you are using a confectionery thermometer you need to get the temperature to between 96 and 104 degrees centigrade (205-220 Fahrenheit).
Test for a set (put a wee bit on a cold plate and see if a skin forms) and when setting point is reached, remove from the heat and remove any scum that may have formed with a slotted spoon.
While all this is going on you can prepare your jars. As I have mentioned before in my post ‘Off Her Trolley’ I am lucky to have many jar-donors around the village and even have enough now to sift out the ones with pictures of fruit on the lids. I give them a steaming hot soak in soapy water before steeping them in a bleach bath. On a warm day I dry them on the terrace although, as you can see by the picture, even on cold days I am able to dry them on the wood-burner!
Leave the jam to stand for about quarter of an hour then put into jars and cover/seal. I always have a ramekin to hand for the little bit that’s not quite enough to fill a jar. It gets used up quickly enough!
These amounts should yield about 2.3 kg (5lb) – I only used 800gm of strawberries in the photos and reduced the amount of sugar accordingly.
And there you have it, strawberry jam to enjoy the whole year round.