Now the longest day has passed by it feels like lots of things that need to be done with winter in mind (and it's still summer.) My preserving frenzy has started already. Opening a pot of strawberry jam in the depths of winter is opening a jar of instant sunshine. The smell alone is enough to transport me back to the warm long days of summer. Already we've picked our redcurrants (redcurrant jelly), blackcurrants (blackcurrant jam), strawberries and gooseberries (strawberry and gooseberry jam). A well filled preserves cupboard reassures me that no matter what winter may bring it'll be ok.
Strawberry and Gooseberry Jam
1kg Strawberries, hulled and big ones quartered
500g gooseberries, topped and tailed
1175g sugar (half granulated and half with added pectin)
100ml lemon juice
Cook the gooseberries in a preserving pan with 300g of the sugar and 200ml water until they soften. Blend the gooseberries until smooth.
Add 200g of the strawberries to the mix, soften over a gentle heat and then mash with a potato masher.
Add the rest of the strawberries then simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Add the lemon juice and the rest of the sugar - allow to dissolve gently and slowly over a low heat.
When the sugar has dissolved bring to a hard boil until the setting point is reached then pot into sterilized jars.
Enjoy on english muffins toasted on an open fire with lots and lots of melty butter.