Generally I’m a great fan of Turkish food, but there are a few things I’ve had to grow to like. Sour green plums (erik) threw me at first but I now celebrate their arrival in late spring. Their tart juiciness is perfectly complemented by a dousing in sea salt. I was a late convert to ayran; yogurt, water and salt didn’t seem obvious bedfellows but now I drink little else during the sweltering July and August days. I have alas, never warmed to Turkish jam. I find it annoyingly thin and syrupy and almost impossible to eat without needing a shower afterwards. Seconds after I have spread, spooned or dripped it on to toast, it has run over the edges on to fingers and sleeves. It’s impossible to have a sneaky late night jam sandwich (guilty secret) without the evidence leaving a sticky trail for the next morning. This year I’m making my own jam and I’m aiming for almost solid fruit that has to be forcibly shaken from the spoon. The strawberry has gone really well so far so here’s the recipe.
2 kg of strawberries
1.7 kg sugar
2 juicy lemons
1 packet (10 g) pectin ( reçel yap ) (Optional, but makes the jam really thick and well set)
If you don’t used pectin, try to find preserving sugar.
Hull the strawberries and chop into quarters. Put into a preserving pan (or the largest, solidest saucepan you have) with the sugar. Use a potato masher to squash the fruit and sugar together. Leave for 2 hours to allow the juice to run. Cut 3 thick strips of peel with the pith from each lemon and add to the pan with the lemon juice and pectin. Stir well to make sure all the sugar is dissolved. Then, using your strongest burner, bring up to a rolling boil for about half an hour. While it’s boiling put a plate into the fridge or freezer. After 30 mins, put a small blob of jam on to the cold plate. Do this every 5 minutes until the blob wrinkles when you push it with your finger. While your jam is cooling, wash 2 large, 4 medium or 6 small jars and lids and put into the oven at just under 100 C for 15 mins. When the jam is cool enough, fish out the lemon peel. I potted up while both jars and jam were still on the hot side of warm and popped the lids on straight away.
This makes a very well behaved conserve that stays put on top of your scone and won’t leave you with sticky fingers.