Strawberry and Geranium Jam – Cooking with Flowers

At this rate, I shall have to change the header of this blog to ‘The Girl With The Wooden Spoon’ sponsored by Jam. I’m afraid this is another recipe for something in a jar and I apologise that we’ve had so many jar-themed entries recently but this is how I’m spending my days at the moment and it’s quite fun to come up with different things out of such basic produce.

In the summer, our village is overrun with baskets outside houses with homegrown fruit and vegetables being given away or sold for nothing which makes you quite inventive when it comes to jams and chutneys. I have my eye on a marrow and ginger jam that I’ve seen around the place, by that I mean in books and on t’internet, not lurking in bars and at train stations. It sounds a bit rations-esque but I imagine the texture would be delightful.

Yesterday, I found a glut of bargainacious English strawberries and I’d been wanting to try the strawberry jam flavoured with geranium leaves that Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall makes with Pam Corbin, his jam lady. I was really surprised to find that the recipe wasn’t in her River Cottage: Preserves book and although I found a version on the Channel 4 website, no mention was really made of the geranium leaves etc so I sort of winged it.

It ended up being quite a soft set but I think sometimes strawberry jam doesn’t want to be too firm else you end up trying to squish it with a knife rather than setting it.

The inclusion of geranium leaves is a bit of a wild one! Well a little bit. There was no real guidance as to what kind of geranium to use and since I wasn’t going to be including the leaves in the finished article and no mention was made that you couldn’t use regular garden geraniums, I used the ones from our front garden! I washed the leaves first, just in case, but they seemed absolutely fine.

As soon as I brought the leaves in, the whole house smelled of that wonderful geranium smell, a little bit like a greenhouse. The smell always reminds me of Biology lessons at school because we spent hours sticking tin foil over the leaves and poking them in the name of all things photosynthetic! I think geranium leaves might have a lot of chlorophyll in them or perhaps it’s just because they’re wide and deep green and so show experiments better but a lot of my formative years was spent with them and that smell takes me back in seconds.

Anyway, so you’ll need some lovely ripe English strawberries and some geranium leaves and the usual paraphenalia of jam pan, funnel, wooden spoon etc.

I am going to rewrite the jam set/sterilising jar segment for you here:

Sterilising your jars:

– Take your clean jars and place in a deep roasting tin. Pour boiling water around the jars to about an inch thickness and place in an oven at 180 degrees C.

– Remove these from the heat when your jam is ready to be added to the jars and funnel your jam straight into the waiting jars.

– While the jam is still hot and almost immediately, add the lids and tighten with a tea towel.

Testing Jam for a set:

– Place a handful of saucers in the freezer before you begin making your jam.

– When thinking about testing for a set, ensure the mixture is at a ‘rolling boil’. You will need to constantly stir the jam as it boils or it will stick to the bottom of the pan. The ‘rolling boil’ will be quite obvious as the juice on the 0utside of the pan will roll into the middle in a ring.

– When the jam has reached a rolling boil, lower the temperature. Place a drip of the jam on the frozen saucer and tilt the plate. If the jam slides down the plate it will need longer but if it appears set and doesn’t move, you are ready to put it in the jars!

So with that covered, on with the jam! I’ve written this recipe myself but it’s based loosely on what I saw on the television and the non-complete recipe on the Channel 4 website.

DISCLAIMER: I don’t recommend making this unless you’re absolutely certain what a geranium is and not taking a pot luck approach to guessing in the garden!

My Mum's Geraniums

Strawberry and Geranium Jam

– makes about 8 jars

  • 1.6kg strawberries, hulled, larger ones sliced in half
  • 1.6kg of jam sugar with added pectin
  • the juice of 3 lemons
  • 8 geranium leaves
  1. Add the lemon juice to large pan/jam pan and place on a low heat.
  2. Add the strawberries and stir while they soften. When a little soft on the edges, use a potato masher to crush about half of them. This will release the pectin and give your jam a lovely whole fruit/soft jam finish.
  3. As the strawberries begin to release juice and the pan begins to fill with soft, hot fruit, begin to add the sugar in stages. Stir to ensure it has completely dissolved.
  4. Raise the temperature beneath the jam pan and bring the strawberries to a rolling boil. At this point, add the rinsed geranium leaves to the mixture.
  5. Allow the strawberries to boil for about 20 minutes and test for a set on your frozen saucer.
  6. When the jam has reached setting point, remove from the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
  7. After standing, ensure the jam is well stirred to encourage the fruit not to rise to the top of the jar.
  8. Fish out your geranium leaves with a slotted spoon and pour your fruit into the jars.

Strawberries

a geranium leaf

halved in the pan

beginning to break down

adding the sugar

reaching a boil

the finished jar

The photo hasn’t really done it justice because it was such a wonderful crimson colour in real life.

I think this would be lovely on a scone with clotted cream and a cup of earl grey tea.

It tastes a little bit like white wine, which is odd but delicious!

Enjoy!

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