1 kg fresh strawberries, hulled
1 kg preserving sugar
250 g water
Juice of 2 lemons
Small knob of butter
Before starting the jam, put 4 small saucers into the freezer.
Put the strawberries into a preserving pan with the lemon juice, water and sugar.
Heat slowly until all the sugar has completely dissolved.
Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to the boil.
Boil hard for 5-10 mins until the jam reaches 105°C 220°F on a digital thermometer. Do not rely on temperature alone.
Take a cold saucer from the freezer and spoon a little of the jam onto it. Leave to cool for a minute or so. Run your finger through it. If a trail remains and the jam wrinkles, it is ready to put into jars. If not, boil for a few minutes more, then turn off the heat and do the wrinkle test again. Repeat until you achieve a set.
Skim any scum that has risen to the surface and discard.
Add a knob of unsalted butter to the jam to dissolve any remaining scum.
Leave the jam to cool for 10 minutes and then decant into sterilised jam jars.
Filling the jars to just below the rim. Place a wax disc on top of the jam to prevents mildew forming, then cover with a lid.
This jam can be stored for up to a year in a cool, dry place.
1 kg mixed dried fruit
175 g fresh suet or lard, grated
250 g dark muscovado sugar or brown sugar
2 oranges, zest and juice
2 lemons, zest and juice
6 pieces of stem ginger, chopped (optional)
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg, grated
2 cooking apples, cored and finely diced
6 tbsp armagnac or brandy
Put the dried fruit, suet, sugar, orange juice and zest and lemon juice and zest, all the spices and chopped apples into a large bowl and stir well.
Add the armagnac or brandy and stir well.
Cover and leave in a cool place for 24-48 hours. Stir the mixture thoroughly again.
Fill sterilised jars with the uncooked mincemeat and store in a cool place until required.
The uncooked mincemeat will keep for up to a year.
This quantity will make several jars for you to store.
1 kg damsons
Freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons
300 ml water (200 ml for a stronger flavour)
Fruit straining stand
4 small saucers
Wash the damsons and put them in a preserving pan. Add the water and lemon juice. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes until the fruit is soft. Allow to cool slightly.
Scald a jelly bag with boiling water and put into your straining stand over a bowl. Pour the fruit into the bag and leave for a few hours or overnight.
Measure the liquid that has collected in the bowl and pour into a clean preserving pan.
Put 4 small saucers into the freezer
Add 500g of sugar to every 500ml of juice (1lb sugar for every pint). Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat up and boil rapidly until setting point is reached. Use a thermometer to begin with. When the target temperature of 105c (220F) has been reached, start testing the Jelly. Do this by spooning a little of the jelly on to a cold saucer. Let cool slightly then run your finger through it – if it leaves a trail and wrinkles it is ready. If not return to the heat, boil for 5 more minutes and test again.
Using a jam funnel, pour into warm sterilised jars, put a lid on loosely and allow to cool before sealing tight.
This dark, wine-flavoured jelly can be eaten straight away, but keeps for up to a year.