It’s the best time to find yourself in a real jam

Strawberry season is here and before you can blink it will be gone. So go out and buy as many of those beautiful sweet local strawberries you think you can eat over the winter months and get aboard the jam train.

This recipe is simple and can be modified by adding in different spices, more sugar or even steeping some herbs such as mint or lavender into it. Make sure you sterilize all your mason jars, hull all the stems off your berries and wash them very well. Now, this is a must: grab a glass of your favourite vino, crank the tunes to set the mood to get your jam on. Remember canning should be fun and rewarding.

A trick of the trade: place a plate in the freezer then, after about 10 minutes of boiling, place a tsp of the liquid of the jam onto the cold plate. Return to freezer for a minute. Run your finger through the jam on the plate: if it doesn’t try to run back together (if you can make a line through it with your finger) it’s ready to be canned. If it’s still too runny, keep reducing the jam for another five minutes and repeat this step until it sets.

 

Strawberry Jam

 

2 lbs fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

4 cups white sugar

2 cinnamon sticks

3 whole star anise

 

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix together the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and spices;

Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved;

Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 220 degrees F (105 degrees C);

Transfer to hot sterile jars, leaving 1/4- to 1/2-inch headspace, and seal;

Process in a water bath.

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