Strawberries are coming into season here and can be picked up from the markets for around $5 a kilo. I need no further convincing to buy up! Enter thoughts of muffins, coulis and jam-type confections. I was inspired several years back by Jamie Oliver’s recipe for quick strawberry jam (simple + quick = got my full attention!). Before winter was done I’d started dreaming about summer fruits and herb couplings. Like rosemary and grape – another composition gleaned via Mr Oliver. Time to confess my first ever food crush? So, with bags of fresh strawberries from yesterday’s market swoop (and some from last week turning soft), I revisited Jamie’s recipe. And then walked quite a few steps away, adding thyme and forgoing most of the sugar. To me, fruit is sweet enough in its natural state.
The result was not overly sweet or ‘jammy’, but the flavours grabbed me. Ever-so-slightly savoury, and chunky. On buttery seeded sourdough toast. A win. I’ll definitely be playing this one out as the weather warms. Soon I’ll be dreaming of stonefruit season – peach and thyme? Mmm!
Strawberries might be a while off yet in the cooler states, so bookmark this one until summer hits!
This jam is not very sweet – add more sugar to your taste. Neither is it very ‘jammy’, but adding more sugar should help thicken it up, if you prefer a more jam-like consistency. The lemon juice is for pectin, which helps the juices to gel. Muddling the fruit (squashing it with the back of a spoon in the pan) should also help, and result in a less chunky, more spreadable jam.
200 grams strawberries, washed and hulled
1.5 tbspn raw sugar
juice of half a lemon
5-6 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
Roughly dice strawberries and place in a pan with sugar, lemon juice, and two thirds of the thyme. If you prefer a less chunky jam, muddle the fruit, squashing it in the pan with the back of a spoon. This will also help release the flavour of the thyme. Simmer over medium-low heat for about five minutes – the mix should bubble slightly – until strawberries are soft. Add the remaining thyme, let sit for a few minutes and serve warm. Any leftovers can be stored in a jar in the fridge for a few days.