Posts Tagged ‘jam’

After a fun packed Saturday we decided to keep with the ‘FUN’ theme on Sunday and head out early(ish) to pick raspberries & strawberries.

At the beginning of the summer I set myself the goal of learning to make jam and so headed straight to Lakeland to get the ‘stuff’ needed (jars, lids, funnel, preserving pan, labels, jam thermometer) and scoped out the book market for the right instruction. The decision was easy – who knows better than the W.I (Women’s Institute)?. So, here I was all prepared and waiting on the PYO (Pick Your Own) season to begin!

Back in May we headed down to Surrey to Crockford Bridge Farm (which we discovered last year when we were in search of pumpkins!) and started the PYO season with Asparagus & Rhubarb. Until this day I had never even contemplated how asparagus grew and I learnt that it grows straight up out of the ground as a stalk – looks quite odd. It was a great day out and Izzy enjoyed helping cutting the asparagus & rhubarb straight from the field. In fact, that night she ate asparagus for the first time and I attributed that to recognising it from that day.

Picking asparagus with Daddy.

Picking asparagus with Daddy.

Picking rhubarb with Mummy

Picking rhubarb with Mummy

We came home with a large bundle of rhubarb and I found a rhubarb chutney recipe in a Sainsbury’s magazine (contributed by Matt Tebbutt) and it was oh so simple and oh so tasty……definitely one worth trying out. Works really well with pork.

Rhubarb Chutney (makes 1 litre)


2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced into half-moons

1 large knob, about 5cm, of root ginger, peeled & halved

3 tablespoons olive oil

1kg trimmed rhubarb, cut into chunks

500g soft light brown sugar

200ml red wine vinegar

In a heavy-based saucepan, gently cook the sliced onions with the ginger in the olive oil. Add the rhubarb chunks, brown sugar and red wine vinegar and stew down gently, uncovered, for 1 hour 15-20 minutes, until jammy in texture, stirring now and again to prevent it sticking.

Season with salt and pepper and remove the ginger. Serve the chutney warm or cold, or cool and store in Kilner-style jars in the fridge.

See – couldn’t be easier!!

So, back to last Sunday! We headed out to Lathcoats Farm in Chelmsford (meeting Mer & Isobel there) and we filled our buckets with delicious raspberries, strawberries and plums. Perfect start to a Sunday. It did not take long for the girls to start stuffing their mouths with more fruit than was making it into the basket!! It is definitely a great family day – you get to do your shopping outside (cheaper than the supermarket too!) and also teach the kids where food comes from while having fun – perfect! One of the highlights for the girls was the chicken coop where they were able to help collect the eggs. The staff gave them the resulting 2 eggs and they were still warm – was sch a lovely lesson for them about where eggs come from.



So, a mountain of strawberries means a perfect opportunity to make strawberry jam….

Strawberry Jam (courtesy of Book of Preserves – Women’s Institute)


1kg strawberries, hulled and wiped

juice of 1 large lemon

1kg granulated sugar

Makes – 6 x 225ml jars

Put the strawberries into a large pan or preserving pan with the lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, just until the juices begin to run – about 10 minutes.

Carefully mash the strawberries with a potato masher and simmer for a further 5 minutes until you have a thick puree.

Add the sugar and stir gently until completely dissolved. Return the mixture to a rolling boil and boil for 5 minutes before removing any scum. Test for a set (I used the thermometer test – ‘set’ is at 105C) and if necessary, boil for a minute more, then test again. Continue testing at 1-minute intervals until the jam has reached setting point.

Remove from the heat, skim off any scum, and allow the jam to cool briefly before carefully pouring into sterilised jars). Allow the the jam to cool completely before labelling and storing.

The verdict? Well I think I need to work on the set as don’t think I got that quite right. Still need to try it on toast so the jury is still out…..



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