Here in the UK seeing an abundance of plump strawberries doesn’t just mean summer is here, but that it’s Wimbledon. Did you know they get through more than 23 tonnes of strawberries every year at the tennis tournament?
Strawberries have been know in Europe since Roman times when they were used to help bad breath and labour pains. They have anti-inflammatory properties, are an excellent source of vitamin C and have a good amount of potassium. Do you need any other excuses to eat them?
Well, when I was sent a selection of recipes to try from Tate & Lyle, the first one that jumped out was strawberry and prosecco jam. How could that combination not be delicious?
I’d never made jam before but knew that some fruits, like strawberries, cherries and grapes, only have small amounts of pectin making it more difficult for the jam to gel. But Tate & Lyle have solved this issue with their Jam Sugar which has added pectin to ensure a perfect set.
I’ve discovered making jam is actually easy! And having a few jars of homemade jam on hand is great not only for lazy Sunday breakfasts but perfect to impress your guests for afternoon tea, either dolloped on scones or in a Victorian sponge.
Being a novice jam-maker, I did rather a lot of reading about jam-making. There’s quite a lot of debate about how much sterilising is needed for the jam jars as well as how to seal them properly.
Whatever method you use, you do need to sterilise your jars properly, and it’s also important to put the jam into hot jars while the jam is still piping hot.
I boiled my filled jars of jam. Many people online say this isn’t necessary to properly seal the jars and that it’s enough to turn the jars upside down while they’re still hot and leave them this way until they’re completely cool. I wanted to make sure any bacteria that might have gotten into the jar while filling them was killed as well as ensuring a tight seal on the jars.
To boil your filled jars you just need to put them in a large pot, completely cover them with water, bring to the boil and then boil for 10 mins. Carefully take them out of their water bath and leave to cool. As they cool, you’ll hear pops as the air comes out and the jars completely seal.
Whichever method you use, check the seals on the jars when they’re cool and use any that haven’t sealed well first.
But how does this jam taste? Absolutely delicious! While the added prosecco is subtle, it gives the jam another layer of flavour. And the added bonus is you’re just going to have to drink the leftover alcohol – what a shame!
Strawberry and Prosecco Jam
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15-20 mins
Makes 5 x 450g jars
1kg Tate & Lyle Jam Sugar
1kg strawberries, hulled
Put the prosecco, sugar and strawberries into a large heavy-based pot and place over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
Increase the heat and boil steadily for 10 minutes, taking care to keep an eye on the jam to ensure that it doesn’t boil too rapidly.
Meanwhile, sterilize your jars by washing them in hot soapy water, rinsing well, then placing them in a low oven at 150°C/Fan 130°C/Gas Mark 2 for 10 minutes.
Test the jam for setting point. To check, remove the saucepan from the heat, spoon a little jam onto a cold plate and leave for 2 minutes – it should wrinkle softly when your finger is pushed over the surface. If this point has not been reached, return the saucepan to the heat and continue to boil for another 2 minutes. Test as before until setting point is reached. (You may need to test several times, though be patient, as this testing is crucial to achieve the correct consistency).
Pour the hot jam into the warm sterilised jars. Leave to cool, then seal and label.
Store in a cool dark place. Once open, keep in the fridge.
Tip: Chill a stack of small plates in the fridge, so that you have a few lined up for checking the setting point. You can also use a thermometer; the setting point for jam is 105c (220F).
More yummy Tate & Lyle recipes using their jam sugar can be found here.
Disclosure: I received a packet of Tate & Lyle’s Jam Sugar to try out this recipe. My opinions are honest and my own.