What is Operation Jam Jar?

Operation Jam Jar is all about getting back to basics in the kitchen.

Check out my efforts at cooking from scratch - cakes, soups, biscuits

Learn how to make things that you would normally buy at the supermarket - wraps, ice cream, pizza bases

Try to live a more 'country' lifestyle in the city - making your own jams or relish

Get the skills to enjoy cooking in a thrifty way, and have a bit of fun while you do it

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Real Strawberry Jelly

Kids seem to gravitate toward simple pleasures – eggs & soldiers, macaroni & cheese, ice cream & chocolate sauce.  Fancy stuff doesn’t really get a look in until you’re all grown up.

To me, nothing sums up childhood desserts like jelly.  I remember one day before school I grabbed a packet of strawberry Aeroplane Jelly from the pantry cupboard.  At recess I began the (quite disgusting) process of licking my fingers and dunking it into the crystals.  Needless to say, after demolishing the whole pack, I ended up with very pink fingers and quite a stomach ache.  Somehow this didn’t stop me from devouring whole plates of jelly if left to my own devices. 

Every now and then it’s nice to regress to the good old days when life was all about the next episode of the Cosby Show and who would get to lick the bowl when your mum baked a cake.  If it’s been a while since you indulged in a little wobbliness, why not try out a more ‘adult’ version of jelly using real fruit.  It’s super easy and sure to send you on a trip down memory lane.


·      2 × 250g punnets ripe strawberries, hulled
·      180g caster sugar
·      1 tbs lemon juice
·      1 ½ cups water
·      3 tsp powdered gelatine


Halve the strawberries and ensure there are no leaves or dirt left on them.

Place the sugar and 1 ½ cups water in a large saucepan on a high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring this to the boil, then reduce the heat down to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. 

Add the lemon juice and strawberries, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until the berries are soft.

Pour the mixture through a fine sieve over a large bowl, and let it stand for 40 minutes, until most of the liquid has drained from the berries.  Don’t push down on the berries as this makes the jelly cloudy.  But the solids aside (they are great with some yoghurt or on top of pancakes).

Place the berry syrup back in the pan over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until hot but not boiling. Place ½ cup of the syrup into a large bowl, sprinkle over the gelatine and stand for 2 minutes. Whisk to completely dissolve gelatine, then stir in the remaining syrup. Transfer to a jug and chill for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the jelly is thick but not set.

Pour the jelly into four small serving glasses and return to fridge for approximately 6 hours to set.  Jelly will keep for 2 days.   

Great served with ice cream, custard, or straight up.   

This recipe will work with any berries that you have on hand so just go with your personal preference (or what's on sale that week).   Why not look up recipes for champagne jelly, lemon and lime jelly, or even ginger beer jelly. 

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