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IN SEASON


Strawberries Stunning


Even when the sun is a little lacking, the strawberry's arrival is a sure sign that summer has fi nally arrived.


A member of the rose family, the strawberry is one of our best loved berries with more than 10 species that off er a range of fl avour, size and texture. T e South West grow some sensational strawberries this time of year. High


light levels with low pollution means more essential ultraviolet reaches the plants, helping to grow plumper, juicier and sweeter strawberries.


STORING STRAWBERRIES


Box Company, explains how best to keep these beautiful berries...


Victoria Amran from Cornish Food


We've waited all year and fi nally it's strawberry season. These ruby red, juicy fat strawberries are at their absolute peak of deliciousness right now. If you have a punnet (or three) do not make the mistake of keeping them anywhere near the fruit bowl, especially if those vicious bananas are anywhere nearby.


As they ripen, bananas release a gaseous plant hormone known as ethylene which begins the ripening process and will very quickly spoil soft fruits like strawberries. The best bet is to eat them all immediately, but if you must save some, then keep them chilled but not too cold. You treat them in much the same way as a salad lettuce or tomatoes.


4 mistakes to avoid when making strawberry jam


❤ Double batching: If you're overwhelmed by a glut of strawberries this summer, don’t be tempted to throw them all in a larger pot. Instead, grab another saucepan and make single batches alongside one another.


❤ Reducing the sugar: Not only does the quantity of sugar add sweetness to the jam, it is a vital component in the thickening process. Avoid reducing the amount of sugar as this will aff ect the fi nal set of the jam.


❤ Not adding lemon: Adding lemon is an essential part of the process – not only does its acidity help to balance the sugar, it is naturally high in pectin which will make your jam thicken and set.


❤ Not cooking long enough: Although it's important to not overcook your jam, not enough time on the hob will cause the fruit pulp to separate from the jelly when the jam cools. Mashing the pulp with a potato masher will also help avoid separation to ensure even distribution of fruit.


36 | THE WEST COUNTRY FOODLOVER


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