Strawberries are in full bloom now a days. You'd find red, plump, juicy, sweet and sour strawberries in abundance during Spring/Summer and they certainly are a lovely treat, not just for the eyes but for the palate too, Subhan'Allah (Glory to be Allah)
When strawberries are in season, we try to make the full use of them by making, shakes, smoothies, frozen yogurt, ice-cream, cakes, muffins or by adding them into different desserts and most importantly, by making strawberry preserves/jam of this luscious fruit :D Believe me, these beauties just get you hooked on them. Another secret; just dunk some strawberries into Nutella and devour! there you go, you've got a snack fix there but try to keep the calories in check :P
When I was living in The K.S.A as a kid, we didn't use to get strawberries in a large quantity there but they were imported from the U.S and Canada in small punnets and were then sold as a fancy delicacy just like Pakistani Mangoes. (lets be honest, no comparison in between the 2! and that reminds me, the mango season is approaching, yipee! :D) My Dad used to get those beauties for us and we were then a bunch of delighted kids, happily gobbling them down and giggling :) Good old days; childhood sure is a perfect time of one's life. You're too eager to grow up but once you've grown up, you keep on reminiscing the old times... Such a dilemma! Oh well that's life :)
|Edible Jewels |
We've always bought commercial made jams but for the past couple of years this has become a common practice at our household to make preserves/jams at home. Apple jam, Orange/Kinnow marmalade, Strawberry preserves/jam, Peach jam, Apricot Jam and Mango jam are the flavors that are made at mine with the fruits in their respective season. I started sharing my recipe blog posts almost 2 months back and by that time, we've had already made apple jam and orange marmalade but I certainly will do posts on them in future, In Sha Allah.
Homemade jams/preserves are way better than the commercially available ones; free from any artificial flavorings, coloring, preservatives and are a bit guilt free as well since you know that real fruit is being used in making them. Sugar can be replaced with the sugar-substitutes for those of you who go for more healthier alternatives like stevia. Once you start making jams at home, there is no looking back! You will never get back to buying them from the stores unless you are too lazy to try making them at home :P can assure you, you will never regret this attempt ever!
Lets get some jam making unleashed in our kitchens today, shall we? :D
Fresh Strawberries: 2 kg/4.4 lbs (washed and hulled)
Sugar: 8 cups/2 kg/4.4 lbs (increase or decrease the amount according to the tartness/sweetness of the fruit)
Lemon Juice: 4 tbsp
Nutmeg Powder: 1/4 tsp (optional but the addition enhances the flavors)
Mason/Glass Jars: 2 (sterilized and can yield up to 1000 gms)
- Put the washed and hulled strawberries into a heavy based non-reactive pot along with the sugar and mix.
- Leave the strawberries for a couple of hours to release their juice upon mixing with the sugar. Best to refrigerate overnight for better results.
- Later, cook over medium flame till the sugar syrup is formed with the juices.
- A layer of froth will appear over the top while preserves/jam is cooking. Remove it gently with the help of a slotted spoon every now and then to get the clear jam.
- Add nutmeg powder, if using. Keep stirring while cooking and do not leave it unattended.
- Once the sugar syrup starts thickening a bit and the strawberries turn darker in color and looks cooked, drop a small amount of the jam over a plate (preferably have been kept in the freezer for a while) if the jam gels, add the lemon juice, stir and turn off the flame after 2 minutes. If not then cook more till it starts gelling.
- Let it cool down a bit before pouring into the sterilized jars. Seal well and keep at the cool place or keep refrigerated.
Yields 2 1000 gm jars
- This type of chunky jam is called preserves but if you want to make it smooth, just blend the prepared preserves with the help of a hand held blender or into the food processor or in a blender jug after adding the lemon juice, cook for further 2 minutes and follow the next steps.
- If you wish to make the preserves/jam right away, just put the pot of strawberries and sugar mixed together on a very low flame so that the juices are released before turning the flame to medium and following the next steps.
- To sterilize the jars, heat oven to 140C-120C/240F-280/fan or gas 1. Wash the jars in hot, soapy water, then rinse well. Place the jars on a baking sheet and put them in the oven to dry completely. If using jars with the rubber seals, boil the seals, as dry heat damages them. (Source-BBC Food)
DO NOT PRESERVE ANYTHING IN AN UN-STERILIZED JARS EVER
|Washed and hulled Strawberries|
|Juices will be released|
|Cook and remove the scum|
|Cook till thickens|
|Do the plate test|
|Jam is ready!|
|Pour into the sterilized jars|
That's all, Jam lovers! :) The quantity of the ingredients can always be adjusted according to your desire and convenience but do stick to the ratio. I hope you enjoy making and eating it. Until next time, keep sharing the goodness of this greatest blessing, that has been bestowed in abundance upon us the lucky ones, with the less fortunate ones.
Thank you and please remember in your Du'as/prayers! :)
*Not be duplicated, rewritten or published without permission- Thank you!