• My strawberry jam never sets and is more like a sauce –

For every 1.5kg of fruit, grate in a large Granny Smith, cored, skin on, to increase pectin.

The juice of a large lemon at the start can increase acid and help extract pectin. Or, a teaspoon of citric or tartaric acid.

For 1.5kg strawberries, add at most only half a cup of water.

Stir often at the outset. Another trick is to reduce the sugar to 1.25kg for 1.5kg fruit. Don’t use over-ripe fruit; make jam as soon as fruit is picked, before the pectin levels drop.


  • We’re always being told that the majority of the vitamins and minerals are in the skin of vegetables, but what about pesticides? Should I worry about giving my toddler unpeeled fruit or vegetables –

It is safe for Australian families to consume unpeeled vegetables. Australia has strict safety regulations in regards to the application of pesticides with the Australian regulatory authority carrying out regular and rigorous testing.

Consumers should always buy Australian grown produce and wash their fruit and vegetables before consumption.

Sterilise jars and bottles

To prevent contamination and lengthen the shelf life of homemade jams, preserves and sauces, it’s important to sterilise storage jars or bottles.

Step 1: Preheat oven to 110°C. Wash jars and lids in hot, soapy water. Rinse well. Place jars and lids in a deep saucepan. Cover with cold water.

Step 2: Bring water to the boil over high heat. Cover pan. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently for 10 minutes. Line a baking tray with a clean tea towel.

Step 3: Using metal tongs, remove jars and lids from boiling water and place upside down on tray. Place in oven and heat for 15 minutes. Bottle hot chutneys or jams in hot jars and cooled chutneys or jams in cold jars.