Strawberry and rose petal jam
This is a guest recipe, courtesy of Lindy Sinclair, who says:
I have adapted this recipe from a British Country Living magazine from 2006. It’s that perfect combination of the roses blooming in the flower garden at the same time as the strawberries in the food garden.
Strongly scented roses work best for this jam. And my Gertrude Jekyll roses, bred by David Austin, provide a very old-fashioned perfume, combined with just the right light pink color which blends well with the strawberries.
If you feel you won’t get the scent from your roses, you can add a tablespoon of rose water at the end of the cooking time.
I use jam sugar for this recipe (sugar with added pectin) as the strawberries are very low in pectin and can be difficult to set.
The following quantities make eight small pots jam.
8 scented roses
2-3/4 pounds (1.25 kilo) strawberries
4 cups (800 grams) jam sugar
juice of one large lemon
1 tbsp. rose water (optional)
Place a saucer in the freezer in preparation for testing the set of the jam.
Sterilize your jam jars, lids, funnel and ladle. (I put mine in the dishwasher and time it so the jam cooks while the jars sterilize.)
Check over the strawberries, and wash any that are grubby. Remove the tops and cut the large ones in half. Place them in a deep pan with the sugar, stir and leave to combine.
Meanwhile cut the rose petals from their stalks, avoiding the yellow or white bitter ends at the base. Set aside.
Juice your lemon and set aside.
Put the strawberries and sugar on a low heat and stir until well dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook on a rolling boil for 20 minutes. You will get a lot of foam sticking to the sides — just scrape down the sides with a wooden spoon and incorporate into the jam.
After 20 minutes, test the jam by placing a teaspoon of jam on the cold saucer. Wait half a minute. If it wrinkles when you push your finger through the jam, it is cooked.
Keep the jam on the heat and add the rose petals and the lemon juice. Stir well and cook for two more minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir the jam well to incorporate the petals. If using rose water, add it now.
Take the warm jars out of the dishwasher (or oven if you are sterilizing it that way) and prepare your funnel and ladle and lids.
Wait five more minutes, stirring continually and then ladle the jam into the jars.
Seal immediately and allow to cool.
Note from Meg: Another way to sterilize jam jars is to bring a very large pot of water to a boil. Immerse the jars and lids and allow to boil for 3 minutes. Remove with tongs and set upside down on a clean dish towel. No need for paraffin or any other sealant: when you place the hot jam in the pots, just screw on the lids tightly. A vacuum will form as the jam cools, and this will preserve it for years.
To follow Lindy Sinclair’s thoughts on gardening in the Ardèche region of southern France, see her blog, The French Garden.