Friday, 30 August 2013
Picking your own... and some accidental jam making
Parkside Pick Your Own for a couple of hours, investigating strawberries, raspberries and green beans.
M was thrilled that the strawberries were being grown at waist height - his memories of PYO were not happy ones - we easily filled our punnets and moved on to the raspberries. A cunning move seemed to be to go to the end of the canes/ plant rows and work backwards as most people started on those closest to you. If that makes sense.
The only thing I was sad about was the lack of tomatoes, but I suspect the early cold weather this summer has put them back a bit, as there were plenty of other fruit and veg around. Lots of people were there in family groups, everyone joining in.
I suppose my only negative about the day would be that PYO is no longer the cheap day out: we had a minimum spend of £3 per person which we easily surpassed, and our fruit was more expensive than the supermarket. That said, as far as food miles go - each strawberry travelled a grand total of 5 miles and many were sampled within 3 hours, which combined with the fun of the activity itself and the time spent together more than compensated for the lack of a BOGOF.
However, what is one to do with a glut of strawberries from some overenthusiastic PYOing? Well, it'd be rude not to make jam. Even if you are banned from preserving (space and moving). I mean it's the thrifty way to use them up. Honest.
Quick and easy strawberry jam - honest. I mean, even if - hypothetically of course - your laptop died halfway through making this jam and you decided to go to PC world to see the offerings then you could get this done before your partner got back and could meet him outside with only a little bit of jam on your top. And only slightly sticky fingers. Ahem. Hypothetically of course
If you've never made jam before - here is not your starting point. Use the recipe by all means, but go back to my first Strawberry jam post as that covers everything in detail
2lb strawberries, hulled and quartered
Juice of 1 large lemon
2lb granulated sugar
Put the strawberries and lemon juice in a large pan or maslin and bring to a gentle simmer for about 10 minutes
Mush the strawberries up with your potato masher
Add the sugar and bring to a rolling boil - mine reached setting point after about 15 minutes, but as always, that's gong to vary depending on how wet your fruit is etc
Once you've tested on your freezered saucer and you're happy that the jam is duly wrinkly, pour into sterilised jam jars, label* and seal
There you have it - accidental jam
I found this made 5 225ml jars with a bit over for testing purposes
*Note: Always label your jam shortly after making so that 12 months on you aren't looking at a pretty jar in your cupboard with no flipping clue as to what's in it. I think it's plum. Or gooseberry.