My colleague, Eugénie, makes her strawberry jam the old-fashioned way, with no added pectin.
Rinse, dry and hull the strawberries, then cut them in half or quarters depending on their size. Put them in a bowl, add the remaining ingredients and combine well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
To check whether your jam is ready without a sugar thermometer, you can use the cold saucer test. In this case, place three small clean saucers in the freezer at least 30 minutes before you start cooking the jam.
Take the macerated strawberries out of the refrigerator and pour into a jam pan or a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to the boil over high heat. The mixture will start to froth up. Stir the mixture regularly and make sure it doesn’t overflow the pan. Carefully remove any scum that forms on top using a skimmer or a tablespoon. Lower the heat and continue cooking over medium heat for 20–25 minutes.
Turn off the heat and place a sugar thermometer in the pan, making sure it doesn’t touch the bottom or the sides. The jam is ready when it reaches 104°C (220°F). Otherwise, return to the heat until it reaches the right temperature. Without a sugar thermometer, check the setting point of the jam by dipping in a tablespoon and lifting it above the pan. If the mixture runs off in a thin stream, the jam is not ready. However, if it forms drops as it starts to flow, take out one of the small plates from the freezer and pour 1 teaspoon of jam onto it: the jam is ready when it sets on contact with the cold plate. Otherwise, return to the heat for a few minutes before repeating the test.
Remove the vanilla bean and pour the jam into clean jars. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 3–4 weeks, or sterilise it for a longer shelf life.
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