After three quarters of an hour I was still standing over the pan of jam which looked like something out of Ghost Busters, cursing that it wouldn’t set.
And it was only later that I rememebered the last time I tried to make jam…
That was trying to make ‘yukka’ jam, small purple fruits that grow on the spiny leaved plant of the same name. I read that you spooned a little onto a plate and if it wrinked, then it was ready. I waited.. and waited.. and waited a bit more… but it didn’t wrinkle. Then it wrinkled, nice deep wrinkes that made me think, yeh! This is going to be great!
It set so hard we had to throw the whole lot away because no-one could get into it without breaking the jar. We laughed for ages that I could have an alternative cook show, a kind of laurel and hardy meets delia smith.
So it was conveniently forgetting this disaster that I was enticed by 9 punnets of slightly overripe strawberries for £1.50 (why is it always the bargin hunter in me that gets me into trouble?).
I read my Mrs Beeton, carefully prepared the fruit and then developed the antithisis of the middle aged woman’s wrinkle paranioa. Every time, the wrinkle just didn’t look big enough to me. Concequently, my strawberry jam is the colour of blackberries and sweet enough to cause pupil dilation in anyone under the age of 40. And it’s set. Obviously, after worrying that it was not set and almost putting jelly in it to rectify the situation, it’s thick enough to think for several minutes about moving if you put the jar upside down.
Note to self and other novice jam makers: when making jam, embrace your inner paranioa about wrinkles.