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3rdWith delicious strawberries set to flood the market, instead of simply gorging on this cancer preventative fruit, preserve some for enjoyment around the year. The simplest and quickest method of preserving strawberries is to freeze them, but not everyone likes the mushy result – although it is ideal to add to smoothies, ice cream and the like.

Yet, with a little preparation and forethought, you can transform those luscious strawberries into an equally luscious jam which, with its many uses, everyone seems to adore and how you go about it is like this: Purchase two kilograms of medium to small strawberries which are ripe but firm to touch. Wash them, remove any damaged bits and green leaves and spread out on a towel to dry. You will also need two kilograms of sugar or, preferably, raw cane sugar or gur, and 125 millilitres of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Put the dry strawberries, leaving them whole – if you decide to use large strawberries you will need to slice them – into an enamel or stainless steel preserving pan (a large pan with a heavy base), add the sugar and lemon juice and put on the stove over low heat. Stir often, with a wooden or stainless steel spoon, to prevent sticking. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat, bring the mixture to boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until setting point is reached.

Test for setting by putting a little jam on a plate and blow to cool it. If it forms a surface ‘skin’, it is ready to be bottled in hot sterilised jars (do this in a low heat oven for 30 minutes while the jam is cooking). Cover the jam surface immediately with wax paper circles to prevent airborne infection. When completely cool, put on the lid, label and store in a cool, dark place.

– B Khan
First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on February 2, 2014.