Latest news from the strawberry jam front – the wave of strawberries is advancing, threatening to engulf me in a wave of strawberries waiting to be processed, taking up whole shelves of the refrigerator, lurking in corners just when I thought I’d done the last batch. Heaving a sigh of relief because the final pot is filled and sealed, I turn around only to find the kitchen table groaning beneath a fresh sea of newly selected berries waiting to be sorted.
There’s not any more space on the larder shelves for jam – what I’ve got there already will probably last us a decade in the present rate of consumption, I have used up all the jam jars and am down to strangely shaped mustard jars, coffee jars and outsized sauce jars and there are still a fantastic few weeks of strawberry season to go.
I have to start selling the jam….memories of a film, where ex-city career girl, moves to country with baby in tow, begins making apple puree baby food and ends up with a full scale company employing half the village, flit through my head. Country baby was her label, with a cute picture of baby, designed to appeal to other city people searching for the fantastic life. Mind you she was a PR person, so had a head start on boosting things and I am not a business person in any way, just someone with too much jam on their hands, larder shelves and everywhere else in the home.
I find a few things – people smile when they see strawberry jam, people like berries, there is a high feel-good factor about them, they conjure up summer and celebration and treats. It is not a difficult product to market, people are predisposed in its own favour; the price just has to be not too frightening. Some people are more attracted by the pretty fabric covers on the lids and choose one to match their kitchen décor…I’ll have to work on the fairly aspect. No I’m not about to turn into a strawberry jam millionaire, but I did sell ten jars.
After thinking I had got the jam consistency sorted, making reliably runny but not too runny jam, I turned out several batches that set completely – thick solid stand-up-your-spoon-in jam. Now I know that it’s all about pectin and how much Bat in Attic, but why now? I did leave it soaking in the sugar longer since I did not get around to cooking it till the afternoon, but does this do anything to pectin levels?
Anyway, I now have two kinds of strawberry jam – thick and runny, both have a fantastic flavour – and both sorts have their aficionados. However, now the dilemma is, am unable to replicate the thick jam to order or will it just happen by accident? A wing and a prayer is more like it. So prayer it’ll have to be, if my market clients return demanding thick strawberry jam!