We picked a couple of kilos of strawberries at Netherton on the banks of the River Teign in Devon. Their soft fruit season has been early this year and due to financial pressures, they're closing their Pick Your Own at the end of the season, which could be within a fortnight -so hurry to get your strawberries, tayberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants.
It took four of us about half an hour to pick this lot - I think it was roughly 2kg strawbs and 1kg raspberries and it came to just under £20.
I used my regular River Cottage Preserves book by Pam Corbin (£8.99 from Amazon). A simple to follow recipe, with a few tried and tested tips e.g. plenty of lemon juice added to the strawberry jam and use of jam sugar (with added pectin to help it set).
I was tired, it was sunny and I wasn't really in the mood for a long-winded jam making session but Pam insisted that fresh fruit are essential. So I started at 9pm when it got a bit cooler in my sun-baked kitchen. By 10:30pm I had finished a whole batch of strawberry jam - about 10 jars and a more modest 3 jars of raspberry jam.
Stage 1: just in the pan
Stage 2: bringing to the boil
Stage 3: almost on the boil, starting to break up
Stage 4: Scary hot sugar rolling boil that unexpectedly rises up the pan at an alarming rate - help!
This batch should see us through the year to go with our breakfast scones and toast. I thoroughly recommend 'Pam the Jam's' no-nonsense approach to preserving. She got me hooked into it (even when over-tired, hot and bothered and not really in the mood.)