Many years ago I began an obession with making preserves. I bought books on jam and learned techniques of sterilising and canning my own. I particularly loved preserving summer fruits which were cheap to buy in bulk during the warmer months. Don’t let anyone tell you any different, home made jam beats anything you can buy at your highest end gourmet shop. What’s more, there’s something wonderfully satisfying about eating a piece of crusty woodfired toast on a cold winter’s morning with the jam you made a few months back. The only problem is, making it can get messy. The other day I was shopping in my local fruit shop and they had a recipe for microwave strawberry jam. I thought – why not give it a try – and you know what? It was the easiest jar of jam I’ve ever made. So much so, I’m going to do it again.
Here’s the recipe:
750g strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
2 cups caster (granulated) suger
1/3 cup lemon juice
Combine strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a large glass heatproof (microwaveable) bowl. Mix the strawberries so they are evenly coated with the lemon and sugar. Microwave uncovered for 10 minutes on high – making sure you monitor the bowl to ensure the jam doesn’t overflow. Periodically stir the mixture with a woden spoon. Microwave a further 30 minutes in ten minute bursts checking the jam and stirring if required. I use a pastry brush to brush down sugar crystals on the sides of the bowl. Jam is set when the mixture comes together. Another way of checking is to place 1 teaspoon of jam on a chilled saucer. Freeze for 1-2 minutes. Run your finger through the jam and if the surface wrinkles and the jam divides neatly in two, it’s ready.