In Melbourne, a city full of food and obsessed by coffee, I cook, I eat, I share the good news and the bad. essjay eats

Strawberry Jam Recipe

Its that time of year when I start to preserve the best of summer to tide me over through all upcoming dull grey winter days.

Strawberries – direct from the farmer, fragrant and sweet, are one of my favourite fruits.  When they haven’t travelled for days to get to you, in refrigerated transport, the smell is incredible. This recipe captures the best of the fruit with a quick cook so that the jam tastes fresh and fruity rather than “jammy” and cloying.  In order to set though, you need to add pectin. Your gran might have added lemon juice and it’s pips to obtain the same effect, but I’m a bit more modern than that. I use citrus pectin in powdered form.

Use the best strawbs you can, either pick your own or order ahead from your favourite farmers market vendor for some frozen seconds and most of the work is done for you. Cleaned and de-stemmed it’s pretty simple to make some jam that will taste so good you’ll never go back to supermarket rubbish.

I got mine this year from Benny’s Berries.

Fairfield Farmers’ Market: Saturday 16 March  Benny’s Berries. Call Maria on 0409 490 127 for 1kg frozen seconds
Gasworks Farmers Market: Saturday 16 March Sunny Ridge
Slowfood Farmers Market at the Convent Saturday 23 March  Summer Sensations- call Neil on 0408 141 092 / 5281 5449

or Pick your own

U-Pick – Sunny Ridge open daily until April – 224 Shands Road, Main Ridge

Simple recipe.

You’ll need strawberries, sugar, vanilla pod, bay leaves, a lemon or a lime, citrus pectin powder (see note)

Take one kilo of strawberries, washed and hulled. (fresh or frozen)

Put them in as large a pan as you have – broad rather than tall.

Add 900 grams of white sugar and two or three bay leaves.

Leave to macerate for a hour at least.

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Meanwhile: sterilise 6 x 300g jars.   I wash them well in hot water, dry them them put them into an over at 170C for 15 mins while boiling the lids rapidly on the stove.

Bring strawberries and sugar gentle to the boil. The sugar should dissolve before the mix comes to the boil.

While heating, split and scrape a vanilla bean into the jam. Cut the vanilla bean in half length wise and cross wise (so you end up with 4 pieces) and place this into the jam too.

When the jam starts to boil, aim to keep it on a rolling boil for 12 mins. Remove lemon / lime and bay leaves if preferred.

Sprinkle over the top 15 grams of pectin powder, stir well for one minute and take jam off the heat.

Fill jars while still hot and close lids tightly. Invert jars for two minutes then return them right way up to cool.


Citrus Pectin is available from Melbourne Food Ingredient Depot: failing that use jam sugar which contains pectin. I don’t recommend Jamsetta, but if you have to … sure.



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