I have a serious "thing" for jam making. Well, not just jam really, but all preserves, chutneys, pickles, jellies, curds & flavoured spirits. We inherited a couple of clumps of rhubarb, a very old apple tree and two crab apple trees when we moved to this house, which as resulted in an expanded repertoire of jarred produce as I hate to even see windfalls go to waste (great for using as the base for savoury jellies).
A few weeks ago, little G and I headed off to our local PYO farm to get some strawberries. They don't seem to last very long at the farm, so I thought we'd better pick some sooner rather than later, before baby arrived.
The freshly picked strawberries were delicious - warm from the sun, sweet and juicy.
As soon as we got home, I got down to the business of turning them into jam. I was convinced that I had pinned on Pinterest a recipe for strawberry and Prosecco jam, but when I looked for it, it turned out to be for rhubarb & Prosecco jelly! A bit of googling found me a guideline recipe for Strawberry Champagne Preserve, which I have altered to suit what I wanted to make. So here it it:
Strawberry & Prosecco Jam
800g strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
1kg bag of jam sugar (I am big believer in jam sugar as it guarantees a set & is very quick & easy - it has the pectin already added)
Knob of butter
Couple of saucers/plates in the freezer
Jars with screw top lids
1. Wash your empty jars & lids in hot soapy water, rinse and place upside down on a tray in a low oven to sterilise
2. Put prepared strawberries into a large saucepan & crush with a potato masher. If you prefer a smooth jam, use a hand blender to puree.
3. Add sugar and heat over a low to moderate heat, stirring continuously until the sugar has dissolved. Do not allow to boil yet.
4. Add butter and stir in the Prosecco (the butter helps disperse the foam/froth)
5. Bring to the boil over a higher heat, stirring continuously until a rapid, rolling boil that can't be stirred down is achieved
6. Leave to boil for 6 mins
7. Remove from heat. Pour small spoonful onto your plate from the freezer & leave in fridge for 1 min. Push finger through the jam - if it wrinkles and leaves a clean path through the jam, your jam has reached setting point. If it is still too runny, bring jam back to the boil for a further 2 mins & then repeat testing process with a second plate from the freezer. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this step, which would have been useful to see!)
7. When it has reached setting point pour jam into hot jars and screw on the lids. If you have lots of frothy foam that hasn't been dispersed by the butter, you can skim off with a slotted spoon & discard before potting (or eat spread on a bit of bread!), as it spoils the clarity of the jam once potted.
My batch made 3 large jars and 3 small ones.
The jam was super delicious and a beautiful colour. I think it makes a huge difference to the favour if you make the jam as soon after picking the fruit as possible. In previous years I have made jam from fruit that is past its best, and it really loses its flavour and colour.
As I had so many requests from friends to try some, I decided to make a second batch the next day with the remaining strawberries. Unfortunately, Mr W had drunk most of the Prosecco whilst watching the football so I decided to use Rosé wine instead. I added the juice of half a lemon too, as I was worried the jam would be too sweet using Rosé. It turned out EVEN MORE DELICIOUS than the Prosecco version!!
So there we have it. A super-easy, super-delicious jam.
If you've never tried jam making, give it a go. There is a misconception that it is tricky, that you need special equipment like thermometers and pectin and that it takes hours of standing over boiling jam waiting for it to reach setting point. But I've found that if you use jam sugar, it is pretty foolproof and very quick. For basic jams, you can't go far wrong by following the recipe on the jam sugar bag!
Start saving your empty jam jars!