A box full of juicy, red, heart shaped english strawberries turned my head, if the sun had been shining the sweet fragrance would have made my mouthwater. There truly is nothing more delicious than picking a warm, ripe strawberry in the field where it has grown when the sun is shining.
Of course not one to resist a bargain I purchased my box and headed home. Strawberries are sadly quite fragile, their life span once picked is fairly short, especially if left on a warm window sill. Well they make the kitchen smell divine and they are a healthy treat. However, even I know when I have too many for us to eat, so what to do. They are hideous when frozen so my next choice is jam. Homemade strawberry jam. I have to make about 12 jars for our family alone, one for each month. But, I have to say that in the depths of winter strawberry jam and bread is like lighting up the sun, just for a few short moments.
I always use jam sugar and always match fruit and sugar in weight. I love the blending of half the strawberries in my old fashioned copper jam pan then stirring in the remaining chopped berries and the sugar. As it boils up, all pink and fluffy it smells delightful, the children then usually appear "what are you cooking ?" "When can I have some?"
Once it has boiled away for a few minutes I test it on a frozen plate pushing the ruby red droplet with my finger to see if it wrinkles, a sign of setting. Then after licking the plate clean I ladle the sticky, hot jam into warm jars, wax circles and lids applied and there they sit, 5 jars lit up like red lanterns in the late afternoon sun.
We now sit waiting for it to cool enough to smear over fresh bread for tea. Heaven!