This recipe needs an extra large saucepan as the jam bubbles up very high. It takes all day prepare but Grandma is usually about the house and can stir the fruit mixture from time to time while it macerates with the sugar to draw out the juice. Then comes the boiling of the strawberries and syrup. Leo is a champion juggler of the sugar thermometer which tells when the jam is done, while at the same time stirring with a wooden spoon. By the end, the kitchen smells wonderfully of fresh strawberries!
Makes five 300-ml/1¼-cup pots of jam
4 quarts/1.5 kg strawberries
6 cups/1 kg sugar
1 cup/250 ml fresh lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons)
Six 300 ml/1 ¼ cup jam pots
1. Hull and rinse the strawberries in a colander. Spread them on paper towels and let them dry 15-20 minutes. Transfer them to a very large saucepan, cutting large ones in half. Add the sugar and lemon juice and mix all very gently together, using your hands so the fruit is not crushed. Leave the berries in the pan for 2-3 hours to draw out the juice. Sterilize the jam jars and set them on a wooden board.
2. To cook the jam: Bring the fruit to a rolling boil, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Boil the jam, stirring constantly but gently so the berries stay whole. Skim and discard the scum which forms.
3. Once the right consistency has been reached the jam will just fall easily from the spoon, forming a double drip. Timing will vary depending on the juiciness of the fruit and can be as much as an hour. When ready, temperature should measure 106ºC/220Fº on a sugar thermometer.
4. Let the jam cool 3-5 minutes, then stir to mix the fruit. Ladle the jam into the jars, half filling them. Let them cool for 5 minutes, then fill them completely – this ensures that the strawberries are mixed in with the liquid jam. To ensure a seal, add metal lids at once, or seal the jam after cooling with melted paraffin wax. Store the jam in a cool cupboard, not the refrigerator. It may take a week or two for the syrup to set in the jars.