Monday, 8 August 2016


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' 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!


  1. I used to love reading that book to my God children and then my classes when I was teaching. Well done with the jam - I'm sure it will sell well as homemade jam,is wonderful.

  2. Bet the smell in your kitchen was divine! I must check my jam stocks. Time I made some more I think. Love the story, it reminds me of a similar one we had to keep rereading to my eldest son . Memories :) B x

  3. Your preserving pan looks perilously full of jam! Glad the fruit didn't go to waste.
    I haven't heard of that book, but then my children are nearer your own age than that of your sons. I used to make lots of jam before my children left home, and loved to see the larder shelves fully stocked.

  4. Oh I bet there was an amazing aroma in your kitchen. With so much waste in the world its good to know that past its best fruit is put to good use.
    That does sound like a fun book!
    V x

  5. Wow! A mammoth jam making session. I'm sure it will sell well at the shop. I haven't heard of that book, but I must say I feel a bit like the family in the story. As you may know from Instagram, I have a mountain of plums this year from our tree and every nook and cranny of the kitchen seems to be filled with them!

  6. Oh my goodness Gina...that is quite a lot of jam to have made at one stirring! Bet it will go well with home baked bread,,,that might also be available at the farm shop.
    The children's book sounds totally charming...I can tell why it would have been a favorite. xo

  7. Oooh, your presentation on the jam is wonderful Gina! I love a good picture book too -- I've saved lots of them from when the boys were little. I might need to look for that Jam book too LOL!

  8. Ah, jam really is one of those home comforts, and it's one of those things that is so much better home made!

  9. Your kitchen must have smelt delicious - there is nothing quite so comforting as homemade strawberry jam! I remember reading the Jam book to many classes of children, super illustrations.

  10. i feel sticky just reading that post! So pleased all that fruit didn't go to waste - environmental jam x

  11. Mmmm strawberry jam, my favourite! I imagine the jam story book would be very popular in my house, too. x

  12. I love strawberry jam. In fact we had toast and jam for tea last night (so healthy... not)but I've never made jam successfully and doubt I could ever get as organised as 35 jars. Magnificent Gina and thanks for the mention of plums. I'm watching ours ripen on the tree and preparing for the glut as I write. I think it will have to be Nigel Slater's plum cake in the next few weeks... but no jam. x


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