Jam Session #1: strawberry jam á la mama

Since Selina is frequently baking bread, rolls and pastries there definitely is a demand for toppings. Luckily one of my (Tina´s) passions is making preserves, especially jams and chutneys, so we hope our “jam sessions” will fit with Selina`s „crazy bakeries“ quite nicely. We guess all of our family members and friends would agree that there was a huge variety of jams when we left Germany. And we guess there are still some relicts hanging around in this or that fridge, cellar or storeroom. But to be honest Lars doesn´t need this variety – he just needs „the“ strawberry jam made by my mother – and nothing else!

Well, since we could not take hers to Melbourne and Lars was craving fort that stuff, he „allowed“ me to make strawberry jam „on my own“ (he must have been really despaired). Although it was still winter in Melbourne and we could not get locally grown, ripe strawberries (but got some quite good berries from Queensland) and Cointreau or Grand Marnier is hard to find here and far too expensive, everything worked well. We finally have our „winter-strawberry-jam“ now and we hope that our stock will last until Victoria´s strawberry season! My mother´s suggestion for the right time-point to buy the strawberries is: Buy them when it hasn´t rained for one week in the high strawberry season (usually June in Germany)!

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Recipe for strawberry jam:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPer one kg trimmed strawberries use one kg jam sugar (As the jam sugar in Australia is somehow much sweeter than the German one, I used only 750g jam sugar per one kg strawberries and cooked the jam longer), approx. the juice of one lemon per one kg fruits and a fair bit of Cointreau or Grand Marnier (if affordable).

The rest is simple: First combine the strawberries with the sugar and the lemon juice and mash (don´t use a food processor, we want small strawberry pieces in the jam!) and set the mixture aside for approx. 30 minutes. Meanwhile place a small plate into the freezer to test the gel point of the jam later and sterilize twist off jars (with boiling water or at approx. 100°C in the oven).

Bring the strawberry mixture to boil, add Cointreau or Grand Marnier and cook the jam following the protocol on your jam sugar package (typically four minutes).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo check the gel point place a small amount of the hot jam onto the iced plate and decide hereafter whether your jam is ready or not (The exact time-point will depend on the juiciness of your strawberries and the amount of lemon juice and alcohol. Since we used only 750g jam sugar per one kg strawberries we cooked the jam approx. eight minutes).

Fill the hot jam into the sterilized jars and turn them upside down to create a vacuum inside. Don´t forget to turn them back before they cool completely down, otherwise the jellied jam will stick on the lid. That´s all! If the jam has still not the right consistency after completely cooling down you could reheat the jam and add more fluid or boil it down more…you´ll find your way!

PS: My mother made a very serious and important  comment on this recipe: Add the alcohol in the last minute to the boiling jam in order not to loose the best part…how could I forget to mention that?!

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