Strawberries are everywhere right now! And as English strawberries are of course the tastiest, the Baking Mad team recently decided to take a trip to a local strawberry picking farm – ‘Hill Farm‘ in Chesterton, so we could pick some for ourselves.
Thankfully it was a beautiful day as we set off, and driving up to the farm we saw that we could also grab ourselves some gooseberries while we were here, and come back again for some delicious blackcurrant and blackberries later in July.
The strawberry fields were huge and the little signs showed us which strawberry varieties were planted there. ‘Christine‘ is apparently a strawberry type from the Fragria Ananassa species which is highly resistant to Verticillium wilt and powdery mildew, not that we’re exactly sure what that means!
There were tons of juicy ripe strawberries ready to pick, it was tempting not to eat them there and then although some of us did have a nibble.
A top strawberry tip is to pick firm, ripe and red looking berries. Strawberries will not ripen any more once they are picked, so go for the biggest. Strawberries are also jam packed full of vitamin C, so you can eat as many as you want!
A tub like this came to a total of £4 and would be sure to last you a while.
Why not see if there is a local strawberry farm near you? Enjoy!
So this weekend I faced the annual dilemma of what to give my Dad who ‘has everything he needs and doesn’t want a fuss’ for Father’s Day… Well I came to the conclusion that there is nothing better than a homemade treat.
With the British summer a bit wet and dreary outside I thought I would bring the summer inside and make some delicious homemade strawberry jam using a recipe from BakingMad.com.
I had picked some fresh strawberries (1kg) and washed, hulled and dried them before blending them which released a gorgeous strawberry scent into my kitchen (tempting not to nibble on the remaining strawberries!).
I used jam sugar (1kg) and warmed it in the oven on a low temperature. At the same time I simmered the strawberries on a low heat on the hob, then mixed the pre-warmed sugar in. Keep stirring until sugar had fully dissolved, creating a strawberry syrup.
Once dissolved, I turned the heat up to a rolling boil. A good tip to add is that you should use a large pan to make your jam as it will froth up when boiling and you don’t want it to boil over making a mess!
I used a jam thermometer to test the temperature of the jam (105°c is ideal), but as an extra precaution also did the wrinkle test. To do this put a spoonful of the jam on a chilled saucer and push it gently with your finger. If the jam wrinkles on top then it is ready to pot (and is also a great excuse to have a sneaky taste of the jam).
When my jam was ready, I spooned it into sterilised jam jars quickly and sealed with a waxed disc. I managed to fill two 2lb jam jars, so not only did I have a yummy gift for my dad but also a reward for me too!
I decorated the jar with navy ribbon and a handmade ‘Fathers Day’ tag, and I must say I was really pleased with the outcome and my dad was over the moon. Now I have the great dilemma of whether to make scones or jam tarts with my leftover jam….hmmmmm the possibilities are endless!
Why not try out the recipe yourself here or any of our other jam recipes, or watch our handy video on how to make jam.