from one generation to the next
The festive season and berry season coincide in the temperate south eastern part of Australia. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, boysenberries, black and red currants are popular for celebratory desserts, in fact my family expect berries to be on the Christmas breakfast AND dessert menu. Invariably, our appetites are sated by the time dessert is served at dinner and I am left with a large bowl of berries to either use quickly or discard.
Berry conserve is simple to make, delicious served on toast for breakfast, dolloped on scones with cream for Devonshire tea, in puddings, cakes, biscuits and pastries. Homemade jam beats the commercial product hands down when it comes to flavour, texture and cost.
1 kg mixed berries
500g white sugar
Juice from 1 large lemon
Preheat oven to 120C. Wash 4 X 250g jars with lids thoroughly in hot water. Lay the jars on an ovenproof tray then place into the oven for 30 minutes. The jars are now sterile and ready for the jam.
Hull the strawberries and if large, cut them into chunks. Gently wash the berries. In a large pot mix together the fruit and sugar. Slowly bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, add the lemon juice, then slowly simmer the mixture until it thickens sufficiently to gel. You can test this by dropping a small amount on a plate or saucer, quickly cooling it in the fridge, then dragging your finger through the dob of syrup. If the edges of the jam do not ooze, cooking is complete.