Saturday, March 31, 2012

Strawberry & Ginger Jam – and Confessions of a Blog Trainer

Pin It

I would be useless as a dog trainer - I cannot even get my blog to behave! To show you what I mean, let’s eavesdrop on a typical scene from Alchemy in the Kitchen...

Me:                 Hey, blog. What are we going to cook today?
Alchemy:       [Excitedly] How about strawberry jam?
Me:                 No! I know the weather is weirdly wonderful for this time of the year but it ain’t strawberry season quite yet. We’re making stuffed baked onions today.
Alchemy:       Whinge. Sulk. Blank page.
Me:                 [softening a little] Alright then, how about a nice pancake cannelloni? (see, trying to bargain – a fatal mistake for a blog trainer to make!)
Alchemy:       Silence. Absence of fingers tapping over keys. Tumble weed.
Me:                 Strawberry jam, eh? [voice-over of me thinking to self: Maybe this blog has a point.  The last twelve months have been relatively jam-free because the jam-maker extraordinaire in my life, my mother, has had to cope with first a fire, then less than a year later, an even more damaging flood when the miniscule stream behind her house rose by a terrifying 12 feet in the space of a few hours in Dublin’s first ‘Monster Rain’. Jam has been the last thing on my mother’s mind. (Although with all the silt the flood left behind, it’s going to be a fantastic year for the fruit trees, Mam...   Mam?)
                        Ok, maybe you have a point, blog. Let’s pop down to the shops. If they have some decent berries, you can have your way. Just this once, mind!
The End


So, you can see it would be useless to send me your dog for training.
Anyway... while I absolutely love homemade jam, I don’t eat vast quantities of it and don’t have ideal storage for it. Therefore unless I am making it as gifts, I make only a little at a time.

For approximately 350g (1 small jar) of delicious strawberry and ginger jam you will need:
350g fresh strawberries, rinsed, dried and chopped into bite-sized pieces
200g caster sugar
30g fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 3 or 4 large slices
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Sugar and spice...

If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, put a saucer or small plate in the fridge before you start – you’ll need this to test that the jam has set.
You will also need a sterilised jam jar – To sterilise jars, I run mine through the dishwasher but you could wash them and pop them in the oven at 100°C for a few minutes.
1                    Place the strawberries and ginger in a glass bowl and add the sugar. Cover and leave overnight. The sugar will draw the juice out of the berries. The following day, transfer to a large saucepan (you need plenty of room for the jam to bubble). Heat gently until all the sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. When the sugar has dissolved, add the lemon juice, then turn up the heat. Pop the sugar thermometer into the pot. When the temperature comes up to ‘Jam’ (106°C or 222°F) keep it there for 8 minutes.  Be sure to take a moment to enjoy the heavenly scent rising from the saucepan. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, simply keep the jam bubbling for 8 minutes, then test it the old-fashioned way by spooning a little onto the cold saucer you placed in the fridge. Leave it a moment or two to cool, then push your finger through the jam. If the surface wrinkles, the jam will set. If not, continue letting the jam bubble for a minute or so more, then test again.
2                    Remove the jam from the heat and fish out the pieces of ginger. Leave the jam to cool for about 15 minutes before transferring to the sterilised jar. This is because if you pour the jam into a jar while it is still very hot, all the fruit rises to the top of the jar. If you leave it to cool a little first, the fruit will distribute itself evenly.


I think this batch has Victoria Sponge written all over it. What say you?
Pin It

22 comments:

Lizzy said...

Oh, what a delicious flavor combination...this would be amazing on your croissants!!! Your photos are gorgeous, too~

The Culinary Lens said...

My mother's house managed to escape the monster storm but they were canoeing up and down her street LOL

I never thought of adding ginger into a strawberry jam I am sure it is delicious.

ping said...

Oooo ... I've never tried a strawberry and ginger combo before, jam or otherwise. Sounds like a jam with oomph. Looks gorgeous!

Deelicious Sweets said...

What a great flavor combination for jam! Your poor mom has been going through a lot! Hope things start looking up for her very soon!

gobakeyourself said...

I must say I am thrilled your blogger persona won since this jam is such a delicious flavour mix :D
Dying to try it on those warm, buttery croissants... :D

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

Parsley Sage said...

HA! At least you get some feedback from your blog...even if it is a big bossy. Mine's usually like 'umm...can't we go back to facebook and play some more Sims Social?'

Awesome jam, darling! It's ALWAYS jam season in Cayman :)

Anonymous said...

Fab on croissants , on toast, on bagels, on scones, hot-cross buns.. Yeah ul have me as big as a house before I know it (n it'll be totally worth it:-)

Colette said...

I say Yay, absolutely got Victoria Sponge written all over it, or scones! Gorgeous post, and amazing images :)

Koci said...

hehehe I love your conversation with your blog! Plus that jam sounds great!

Jill @ MadAboutMacarons said...

Ginger to strob jam? This is talking to me, Hester. As is using it in that Victoria Sponge. Oh my, your poor Mum. No wonder jam is the last thing on her mind - at least she has the perfect daughter to come up trumps with this one!

Tiffany said...

Haha! I was cracking up at the dialogue between you and your blog! LOL…. I also couldn’t help but to fixate on the ‘gifts’ part… if you are ever looking for someone to give this lovely jam to, I’d be more than happy to receive some! :D

The Harried Cook said...

LOL :D what an interesting conversation you & your blog had... Your blog's idea was brilliant! You wanted to make baked onions? How about a compromise next time - onion jam? LOL :D This jam sounds perfect and I am going to make this with the next batch of strawberries I find! Great post :)

Anonymous said...

Onion Jam, Marsha? Great idea - coming soon, now just need to persuade my blog trainer... ;)

Alchemy

Gourmantine said...

I've had to laugh out loud reading the "conversation with the blog". Your blog does have a good sense of what is good to post :) I've never tried strawberry and ginger combination before (as my grandma who always makes jam sticks to traditional recipes), will have to try this once some decent strawberries will appear.

firefoodie said...

Not much of a jam maker myself, ginger and strawberries? Gotta be done! (it's not me, it's my blog telling me what to say..) A :)

Cucina49 said...

That jam would be brilliant with a sponge cake--it's so colorful and I love the addition of ginger.

Spicie Foodie said...

Hehe, so cute Hester :) The jam looks amazing! I always make at least one jar once strawberry season is in full gear. Going to bookmark your recipe to try this year. Thanks for sharing!

Biana | TastyGalaxy.com said...

Strawberries and ginger sounds like a fabulous combination. Love the picture of the jam with croissants - wonderful.

Food Jaunts said...

I've never made my own jam - I think in my head it's like one of those magical things like souffles you've got to have mad skills to do. Love the idea of adding ginger to a strawberry jam, it must give it a great twist. PS - Definitely feel you on misbehaving blogs! I'm dealing with one right now

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

Strawberry and ginger is a new combination to me, but as I like both of them, I will love it! The ginger kick will go well with the sweet strawberries. Our season started and I think our family will really appreciate this jam. And we'll be eating it with the croissants, just like how you have it here. :-)

Mother Rimmy said...

I love your sense of humor. It's so much fun to read your blog posts!

Alana said...

Strawberry and ginger sounds like a magical combination for jam (hah, I nearly typed ham, err). I hope your mum is doing ok!!