The summer season is the ideal time to prepare your own fruit preserves for the rest of the year. Among the fruits that taste best during this time are strawberries, from which you can prepare delicious jam.
Although many people use these terms interchangeably in the context of fruit preserves, the difference between these products is significant. Fruit jam is prepared on the basis of sugar, fruit pulp and gelling products, so that its consistency resembles a jelly with pieces of fruit. Moreover, much less sugar is used in the production of jams than in the case of preserves. These are very sweet in taste, as about half a kilo of sugar should be added per kilo of fruit. Some recipes also call for a 1:1 ratio, especially for products made from sour fruits, such as currants or cherries. For homemade recipes, the proportions are much smaller, making the preserves themselves healthier and less caloric. The question of the taste and consistency of the preserves also depends on how the jam is prepared. Long frying and overcooking of fruits is used more often when making homemade fruit jams. Preparation time can take up to several days. Less demanding jam recipes allow you to make fruit preserves in just a few hours.
Which strawberries to choose?
The main issue in making your own strawberry jam is the right choice of fruits. As cooks who specialize in homemade preserves will tell you, strawberries are best bought at or near the peak of the season. That’s when the fruit is sweetest and cheapest, which is also of considerable importance for larger production. Small strawberries work best, they are quicker to peel and shorter to cook. The specific variety does not matter so much when choosing, but it is worth paying attention to Ducats or Florence. The last important thing to pay attention to when choosing strawberries is the weather. If there were storms and heavy rains in the previous few days before purchase, it is better to hold off. Such strawberries will have a lot of water in them and little sweet, intense flavor, and this in jam is the most important.
If you have chosen the type of fruit preserves and purchased the ideal fruits, the last thing is to choose the right recipe. There are many ways to prepare homemade jam, so it is worth reading a few suggestions and choosing the one that seems most suitable for you. The most popular method of preparing jam involves peeling strawberries, adding sugar and lemon juice, and then boiling the whole thing for several hours. Sugar is added differently, depending on the recipe, but the standard is about 1-2 servings of sugar per 4 servings of fruit Optionally, in some recipes you can also find that a tablespoon of butter is added to the strawberries. A little bit of fat gives the jam additional flavor, smoothens its texture and makes the natural sweetness of the fruit taste more intense. The whole thing should cook for a total of about 6 hours.
main photo: unsplash.com/Lucinda Hershberger