One of the perks of supplying cakes to the farm shop is sometimes, Linda, the owner turns up with a glut of some over ripe fruit or another. Four weeks ago it was a big bag of black bananas... there was a lot of banana cake that week. A week ago she brought me twelve punnets of strawberries that were just turning past their best. As I was about to go away for a few days I chopped them up and put them in the freezer... all 6kg of them!
Today I decided I ought to do something with them so I began a jam making marathon... prolonged because the first batch didn't set. Strawberries are not very high in pectin so it is not easy to obtain a set, especially when the fruit is over ripe. I used jam sugar with added pectin, plus some lemon juice:
1.5 kg strawberries, 1.25 kg jam sugar, juice of one and a half lemons
And eventually after boiling it all up I've ended up with 35 jars of softly set Strawberry Jam, which will now find its way back to the farm shop
And while I was stirring and simmering I remembered a book I used to read to my boys when they were little...they loved the story of Mr. Castle and his jam making exploits.
A super efficient stay at home Dad, Mr Castle makes plum jam from the fruit tree in his garden. As more plums drop he makes more and more jars of jam until eventually he is fillng every container in the house from the tea pot to flower vases. The family end up eating jam with every meal - jam in their porridge, jam in their lunch time sandwiches, jam roly poly after their dinner... "Their days were full of jam eating and their nights of dreams all dripping with jam." Just as they finish their last pot of jam they hear the thud of a plum falling on the roof... a whole year has past and it all starts again!
I've kept a box of all the favourite picture books from my boys' childhood...my favourites too, I love a good picture book... so I was delighted to find I had kept our copy of "Jam".
I think I might have made quite enough Strawberry jam for one year though!