1 vanilla pod
1 kg ripe strawberries, washed and leafy tops removed
500 g high pectin sugar (jam sugar)
Making jam is actually pretty easy once you've sterilized your jars ready to go. This is a soft set jam and tastes like you wouldn't believe – it makes a great gift too. Get creative and make nice labels for the different jars. It's absolutely delicious simply spread on fresh buttered toast, dolloped onto a portion of rice pudding, used as a filling for a homemade Victoria sponge or, as an extra special treat, enjoyed with scones and clotted cream. Give it a go!
Before you start, sterilize the jars and their lids to get rid of any bacteria. Either put them in the sink (lids unscrewed from jars) and cover them with boiling water from the kettle, filling the jars with the water; or simmer them, completely immersed, in a very large pan of boiling water for 10 minutes; or lay the jars and lids on a baking tray in the oven and heat them at around 100°C/225°F/gas ¼. And if you have a good dishwasher with a very hot cycle you can sterilize them in there as well.
Halve the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Put the seeds in a saucepan with the strawberries and the sugar. Mush it up with a potato masher to make a lovely slurry, leaving a few chunky bits of strawberry in there to add a bit of texture.
Place the pan on a medium heat, bring it to the boil then simmer for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat off, carefully skim any foam off the top of the jam then leave it to cool a little. After about 15 minutes, divide the jam between your sterilized jam jars. Leave to cool completely then cover the jars and pop them in the fridge. Once sealed, the jam will keep for about a week, but is sure to be long gone before that!
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Serves Makes 4 or 5 400ml jam jars
35m (plus sterilizing and cooling time)
BUYING SUSTAINABLY SOURCED FISH
Buying sustainably sourced fish means buying fish that has been caught without endangering the levels of fish stocks and with the protection of the environment in mind. Wild fish caught in areas where stocks are plentiful are sustainably sourced, as are farmed fish that are reared on farms proven to cause no harm to surrounding seas and shores.
When buying either wild or farmed fish, ask whether it is sustainably sourced. If you're unable to obtain this information, don't be afraid to shop elsewhere – only by shopping sustainably can we be sure that the fantastic selection of fish we enjoy today will be around for future generations.
For further information about sustainably sourced fish, please refer to the useful links below:
Marine Stewardship Council