Tudor Inspired Strawberry and White Wine Jam

Who doesn't love a schmear of sweet, strawberry jam on their toast? 

And while I knew that Victorian ladies loved jam in their Victoria Sponges, I didn't realise that jam-making went back, at least to the early 1600s. 

I found a recipe for Strawberry Jam in the book Delights for Ladies (which also contains a recipe for Henry VIII's perfume, by the way) first published in 1602 by Sir Hugh Plat (I managed to find a 1644 edition). The Elizabethan recipe involves scalding fresh strawberries in hot water, straining them through a colander and then boiling them again in wine, adding sugar. 

I tried this, and it resulted in a pale pink sloppy, very un-jam-like mixture. Maybe my strawberries were more juicy. They probably weren't grown in the wild. 

So I started again, to try and make something a bit more foolproof.

It was important to me to keep the vivid red - we eat at least partly with our eyes after all - and  the flavour of the dry white wine in Plat's original recipe. For this, I needed to boil the strawberries as little as possible but still maintain the sticky, firm jam consistency. I settled on a modern method, which produces the vibrant red of the strawberries and a hint of white wine, inspired by the original recipe.

Oh. And if you've never made jam before, don't be freaked out. This recipe takes about five minutes to make and uses three ingredients.

Tudor Strawberry Jam 
Adapted from Delightes for Ladies, by Sir High Plat, originally published in 1602. 

200g fresh ripe strawberries, the leafy tops cut off
180g jam sugar
a splash (about an espresso cup's worth) of white wine

Place the de-leafed strawberries into a medium to large pan (the mixture will bubble up as it boils so use a larger pan than you think you'll need). Mash them gently with a potato masher or a fork. Turn on the heat to medium until the strawberries sizzle a bit. 

Add the jam sugar and stir into the strawberries, bringing to a boil. 

Once the mixture begins to bubble and boil, add the wine, and stir. Continue to boil rapidly for five minutes. 

Turn off the heat, cool slightly, and pour into a clean sterilised jar and leave to set. Keep in the refrigerator and use up within 2 weeks. Sourdough bread will be the closest thing to Tudor bread, if you want to be authentic. 

Enjoyed this? You might also like: Tudor Tartes of Cheese, Jumbles Biscuits and Tudor Roasted Apples

Are you interested in the beginning of the Tudor era? I explore stories of often-overlooked women during the Wars of the Roses' conflict in my book. The war resulted in the crowning of the first Tudor king, Henry VII. Interested to find out more?  Order your copy here. 

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Source: Plat, Hugh. Delights for ladies to adorn their persons, tables, closets, and distillatories: with beauties, banquets, perfumes and waters. 1644 edition. London. archive.org