from one generation to the next
Miss E is planning her 9th birthday party. She’d like to serve blackberry and apple juice in champagne glasses, the rim of the glass frosted with pink sugar crystals. Sigh! How the expectations of nine year olds have changed.
I vividly remember my ninth birthday treat. Fifty years ago, while on summer holidays, my parents took me to a beachside cafe for afternoon tea and I chose a bowl of fresh strawberries and cream. I’m not sure how many strawberries I had tasted up to that point, but I still remember those sweet fragrant juicy little berries in a cut glass bowl. Their beautiful flavour has stayed with me until this day.
Strawberries went through a period that they were being grown for appearance not flavour, huge woody tasteless, but gorgeous fruit. Consumers began to demand better and thankfully, today, I can again buy intensely sweet luscious strawberries, at a price well below the luxury barrier.
Luscious strawberry jam on my breakfast toast during the winter months will remind me of the inevitability of summer’s return.
750 g white sugar
Juice of 1 large lemon
Wash, hull and slice the strawberries. Place in a wide pan with the sugar and lemon juice and bring to the boil. Lower the temperature and simmer until the mixture has set. While the jam is cooking, wash 4 medium sized jars with lids and sterilize them at 140C for 30 minutes.Once the jam has finished cooking, spoon it into the jars and seal immediately. A vacuum will form as the jam cools.
To test if the jam has set, place a small amount on a plate and put it in the fridge for a few minutes to cool. Run your finger through the centre of the blob of cooled jam and if the jam doesn’t run into the space created, it is cooked.
To sterilize the jars:
Thoroughly wash the jars and lids and place in an oven warmed to 120C for 30 minutes. Boil the lids in a pot of water for 5 minutes. Don’t pot the lids in the oven or the plastic coating