Raspberry and Strawberry Christmas Jam
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  • 250 g strawberries
  • 120 g raspberries
  • 250 g sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 9 oz strawberries
  • 4 oz raspberries
  • 9 oz sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon

Raspberry and Strawberry Christmas Jam

Many people seem to have the fixed idea that the only way to make jam is in enormous batches which produce dozens of jars of jams and use up quantites of fruit and sugar. Not so. I often make jam in very small batches, just two or three jars, one to eat immediately, one to save for a special occasion and one to give away. This dazzling red jam is a lovely way of stretching fresh raspberries by cooking them with a puree made from the large, firm strawberries we get today. Somehow the raspberry taste predominates, even though there are fewer of them. It takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish and although I'm happy to spend many hours in the kitchen stirring batches of jams and chutneys - the 'witch's cauldron' branch of cooking, as Lois Daish described it to me - there is real pleasure in concocting fresh-tasting summer berry jams in a few minutes. This is a low-sugar jam, but as long as you get it into the jars while it is still very hot and cover the jars immediately it will keep for several months and it sets well too. Store it in the fridge after you open it and try it on warm scones, with yoghurt or rice pudding, or stirred through a bowl of sliced strawberries for a quick fresh-fruit compote.

Getting ready

  1. Turn on the oven to 325 degrees F/ 160 degrees C. Rinse two small jam jars in very hot water and put them in the oven to dry and heat through. This will take about 15 minutes. Put a saucer into the freezer. The recipe makes about 1½ cups of jam, so make sure your jars will hold that much. Any extra can go into a small bowl for immediate taste-testing.

Making the jam

  1. Chop the strawberries roughly and put them into a food processor with half of the raspberries. Whizz to a rough pulp and pour into a preserving pan or wide, shallow pot. Add the sugar and lemon juice, set over a medium heat and stir constantly until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Once the sugar is dissolved, bring the jam to a galloping boil and start the timer. It should take 5 minutes boiling to reach setting point. With small-batch jams it is very important to keep stirring as the jam cooks, since the temperature rises very quickly. (Burnt jam is to be avoided if at all possible.)
  3. After 5 minutes, turn off the heat, and drop a small spoonful of the jam onto your chilled saucer. Leave it for about a minute then push your finger through the jam. The top surface should wrinkle very slightly. Boil it for a little longer and test again if you need to.
  4. Remove the hot jars from the oven and place them on a board. Use a ladle and a wide-mouthed funnel, or a heatproof jug to pour the jam into the jars, cover them with lids or cellophane covers and leave until cool. Makes about 1½ cups / 325 ml jam.