There is a glut of strawberries at the moment. Some farmers are choosing not to pick as the return just doesn’t over the cost of getting the fruit to market. As a result strawberries have been very plentiful and cheap in the shops with prices as low as 99 cents a punnet. However, if you can buy strawberries directly from the farmer you are ensuring that they are at least getting some return for their labour. At the Moggill Markets we have the Hendriksens who own Sunrise Strawberries and they would have to be the best strawberries around. Plump, juicy and flavoursome, I have yet to find a rival for these strawberries. According to the Hendriksen’s this has a little to do with the variety they grow but mostly it is to do with the fact that the strawberries are picked the day before the markets. As they age, strawberries loose their flavour so the just picked ones are the best if you can get them.
We have been doing our bit to eat our way through the glut. Smoothies, crumbles and cakes have all featured recently along with strawberry sauce and of course strawberry jam. Strawberry and rhubarb jam is great, as is strawberry and vanilla. Looking for something a bit different, I was inspired by a recipe in Liana Krissoff’s book Canning for a New Generation. This book has some interesting recipes for jams and pickles as well as some ideas for how to use them in other recipes.
The ratio of fruit to sugar in this recipe is quite low so it won’t set quite as firmly as you would normally expect a jam to. Cooking the syrup separately to the strawberries ensures that the fruit retains its shape and colour. As a result this jam is a beautiful vibrant colour and the herbs compliment the strawberries perfectly adding a freshness to the jam.
Strawberry Jam with Asian Herbs
- 1.5kg strawberries, hulled and chopped (The strawberries in this jam won’t break down much in the cooking so you need to cut them to the size you prefer. I like a chunkier jam but if you prefer finer pieces cut the strawberries smaller.)
- 2 cups sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons coriander, chopped
- 1 tablespoon mint, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Thai basil, chopped (Vietnamese mint is also suitable)
Place the strawberries and the sugar in a large pan and stir over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Strain the strawberries through a sieve or colander catching the liquid in a bowl. Return the liquid to the pan and bring to the boil. Continue to boil until the syrup is reduced to about 2 cups. It should take about 20 minutes.
Return the strawberries and any juice to the pan, add the lemon juice and simmer for about 15 minutes. At this stage add a teaspoon of jam to a saucer that has been in the freezer to check that it is somewhat firm. It won’t set as you would normally expect a jam to but it will thicken. Turn off the heat and skim off any scum that might have formed. Stir through the chopped herbs and bottle into sterilised jars. This will make about 4 cups of jam.