Monday 6 August 2012

Late summer fruits

The children and I spent a happy couple of hours at the weekend making jam. Being near to the end of the strawberry season now is the time to collect up the last of the home grown varieties and preserve them ready to be enjoyed as the weather draws in and the days get shorter. We had done just so and needing a meditative activity for three boisterous chaps I set them the task of preparing the strawberries,  cleaning and chopping them into small pieces.

Meanwhile, not one to miss out on a hour or two at the stove I patiently immersed myself in the job of de-stalking a kilo of red currants, it was all going well until my task seemed more appealing to the toddler and he made his way over to help. Thankfully although he was immeasurably helpful for a minute or so it didn't take long for him to prefer the sweet taste of the strawberries and between the four of us we were soon ready to begin in the kitchen.

The strawberry jam was a simple recipe, a quarter of the weight mashed in the pan and bought to a simmer for five minutes before adding the juice of one lemon, the rest of the strawberries and half their weight in sugar with added pectin. The eldest stirred the mixture until the sugar had dissolved before we carefully bought the pan to a low boil for 20 minutes.

The red currants went into a second pan with the addition of two red chilli's, a five centimeter length of grated ginger, grated orange rind and the juice of three oranges. The obligatory sugar went in next and again we bought the mixture to a simmer whilst the sugar dissolved before leaving it on a rolling boil for twenty minutes.

We had prepared our jars and they were freshly sterilized by the time the two jams were ready for potting. A job for Mummy this time due to the molten heat of the sugary fruit. We always leave a little jam to cool in a cup so eager are we to try our creations and today was no different. The kitchen clean we sat down to a very homemade lunch of bread, ham and chili jam with salad and a 'dessert' of bread butter and strawberry jam.... mmmmm

Written and photographed by Sally McWilliam

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