Jam It Up!

My recent trip to the Strawberry Farm in Malaysia with Paul.

My recent trip to the Strawberry Farm in Malaysia with Paul.

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Are you a fan of strawberries? If you aren’t, it’s about time you change your mind!

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Whether fresh or frozen, strawberries are nutrient-rich and packed with antioxidants (like vitamin C).

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Strawberries are also good source of iodine (for the thyroid).

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One cup of strawberries contains over 13% of the RDA of dietary fiber, yet only 43 calories.

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The dietary fiber in strawberries helps to keep digestion regular, as well as lowers blood pressure and curbs overeating.

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Strawberries contain a chemical compound called phenols. Anthocyanin, a particular phenol abundantly found in strawberries, lends the rich red color to the fruit. Though anthocyanin is known to have antioxidant properties within the fruit, it is debated as to whether the antioxidant agents in anthocyanin-rich foods can be absorbed into the body once digested. Fortunately, however, it is known that when anthocyanin-rich foods are consumed, the body’s uric acid levels increase, which serves as an antioxidant agent.

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The phenols in strawberries also fight against many inflammatory disorders, such as osteoarthritis, asthma and atherosclerosis, by inhibiting the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX) in the same way that the drugs aspirin and ibuprofen do. Strawberries, however, do not carry unwanted side effects like stomach and intestinal bleeding.

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The combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents found in strawberries is well-known to fight against the onset of many different forms of cancer. Thanks to the vitamin C, folate, and the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol that they also contain, strawberries are a delicious defense against potentially cancerous cells.

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The Archives of Opthalmology recently published a study in which three or more servings of strawberries (and other fruits) per day can decrease the possibility of contracting age-related macular degeneration by over one-third.

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One cup of strawberries contains an incredible 136% of the RDA of vitamin C, an effective antioxidant that can help lower blood pressure, ensure a healthy immune system, and ward off the development of age-related ocular diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

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One cup of strawberries contains 21% of manganese, an essential nutrient that acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. By increasing the levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), the enzyme responsible for protecting mitochonrdria exposed to oxygen, manganese not only helps to fight the battle against free radicals and oxidative stress, but also lessens cellular inflammation — another cause of numerous cardiovascular diseases.

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Manganese is also great for the bones, helping in bone building and maintaining proper bone structure. The potassium, vitamin K, and magnesium in strawberries are also important for bone health.

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Fresh strawberries are available year-round in many regions, with the peak season from April to June. Always buy strawberries that are bright red (with no white or green around the stem). They should have some fragrance and are plump with no soft spots.

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If using right away, it’s best not to refrigerate them. Otherwise, lay the strawberries flat on a paper-towel-lined plate and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Do not rinse or hull until ready to use.

Home-made jams are purer and more intense. You can control the sweetness and texture according to your taste and desire.

Strawberry Jam Recipe
Ingredients:
1.5kg Strawberries, ripe and firm with no green tinge.
1 – 1.5kg Castor Sugar, according to taste.
Juice of ½ Lemon.
Zest of ½ Lemon (organic or unwaxed), optional.
5-10g Butter, optional

Method:
1. Check strawberries for soft spots (which must be removed) and discard any berries with bruises or that are overripe.

2. Coarsely cut the strawberries or use a food processor to process till you have chunky bits.

3. Place strawberries in a large saucepan and stir through half the amount of sugar. Leave in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight while sugar softens the fruit.

4. Add lemon juice and zest (if using) then simmer over very low heat until the sugar dissolves. This slow cooking process extracts the natural pectin from the fruit.

5. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, turn up heat and boil the jam rapidly, stirring constantly until fruit is soft, about 10-20 minutes.

5. Remove one third of fruit (when the fruit is softened) and set aside. If you do not like chunky fruits in your jam then omit this step.

6. Cook remaining mixture until fruit is mostly dissolved and jam coats the back of a spoon or test by placing a spoonful of jam on a cold saucer (place saucer in the fridge before you cook your jam) for a few seconds or a minute. Touch it with your finger and if jam “wrinkles”, it’s ready. If not (slides around like liquid means the jam is not ready), boil it for another 5 or 10 minutes and then check again. The whole process of achieving the jam’s setting point can be anywhere from 10 minutes to 60 minutes.

7. When setting point is reached, turn off heat and stir in the butter if using. Remove any scum on surface of jam.

8. Divide reserved fruit between the jars and fill with jam.

9. Allow to cool completely before sealing with airtight lids.

10. Refrigerate opened jars when not in use.

Sterilising Jars:
1. Wash the jars in soapy water and rinse in clean warm water.

2. Allow them to drip-dry, upside down, on a rack in the oven set to 140C/275F/Gas 1.

3. Leave them there for at least half an hour while you make the jam.

4. Avoid touching the insides of the jars after sterilisation and filling up process to prevent contamination. This ensure bacteria free jars and keeping the jam’s storage lifespan longer.

Happy eating 🙂

Health Benefits of Strawberries Information: Eat This!

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Comments
26 Responses to “Jam It Up!”
  1. What a great, well-written, and informative blog post Sam! BIG like!!

  2. Great photography 🙂

    • Sam Han says:

      Thanks Mr P. Took a lot of flower pictures too 😀 Btw, what happened to Sofia’s blog? I went to hers but it said her setting is private… Did you have problem visiting her blog?

      • The flower photo in the middle of the set here was a nice touch. Makes me want to go strawberry picking even more next year. Just tried Sofia’s blog now, seems to be working for me.

      • Sam Han says:

        The strawberries here are year round (farmed) but not sweet at all. They spoil quite easily too. Maybe our weather is not that conducive. Hope your strawberry pickings more “fruitful”, lol… Double checked Sofia’s, it’s the award post that was set to private, the chocolate smoothie’s fine.

      • The Very Inspiring Blogger award? That was fine for me too. If you check your stats you’ll hopefully see that post as a referrer, that’s how I tracked my way back here from there.

      • Sam Han says:

        Ok, thanks 😉

  3. jalal michael sabbagh.http://gravatar.com./jmsabbagh86@gmail.com says:

    Exceptional like.jalal

  4. Wonderful post..Strawberries. Here in Florida, we are in the middle of the strawberry and blueberry growing region. We pick our own berries every weekend. Sweet and jui[image: Inline image 1]cy, my favorite saying is “The strawberry picker who goes home hungry is a fool.” In the background of the strawberry field is the blueberry field, picking will be between May and July..Love, hugs and prayers, ME and the Boss

    On Sat, Apr 20, 2013 at 2:45 PM, Bonding Tool

    • Sam Han says:

      Oh Michael, the link is broken or rather the image is missing and I can’t see it. It’s so great to be able to go berry picking every week for your own consumption. I used to go to a farm in Melbourne once a blue moon for strawberry picking. This farm here, no tasting allowed when you go picking and you can see the strawberries are small, it’s RM8 per 100g but they are sour, lol…

  5. Laura Lynn says:

    Great post and such lovely pictures! Thanks!

  6. LAND OF FUN says:

    Fantastic post my friend 🙂
    Happy Sunday !

  7. Sofia says:

    Such a pretty post with all those strawberry plants! Jam is one of those things that I keep on saying I want to make, but I keep on putting off because I keep on thinking there must be some huge secret of the universe about making it that I don’t know of.. Ok so now you and a few more blogging friends have put up jam recipes, I must get around to it soon! I’ll take note of the secret from here 😉

  8. renxkyoko says:

    We have strawberry plants at our backyard. Actually, the plant is invasive, ha ha ha. Even if we pluck them off the soil, another one will grow somewhere. It’s quite a hardy plant, and stubborn.

  9. Sofia says:

    Hi Sam! Just “warning” that today I´ll publish my post on making jam and link it to your recipe here 🙂

  10. laurasmess says:

    Hi Sam! How did I miss visiting your blog before?! Just followed the link from Sofia’s gorgeously honest banana and peach jam post. Love your blog. These strawberry images are so, so beautiful! I have a teeny strawberry plant but it’s suffering at the moment as our weather has been quite temperamental here in Western Australia (it’s winter at present). Hopefully it’ll hang in there til the Spring/Summer crop 🙂

    • Sam Han says:

      Hi Laura, thanks for visiting and being so kind in your comment. My children were studying in Melbourne (same crazy weather as your side) but they have graduated this year and hence my return to Singapore. I used to do cooking daily in Melbourne as I find eating out there to be very expensive. I seldom cook now but I will be passing along your wonderful recipes to my children. Hope your strawberry plant survive and that you’ll have enough of them to make a wonder batch of strawberry jam 😀

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