Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Strawberry Jammin'

I've been reading The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure and it has really gotten me in the Little House on the Prairie mood. The book chronicles the authors love of the Little House books and her experiences traveling to the different Laura Ingalls homesteads. She also shares her desire to churn butter. With an actual butter churn. I have to admit, I sort of want to do it too.
But instead, I made homemade jam for the first time in my life. And I think it was a success. A sort of expensive success, but a success none the less.
This whole adventure was inspired when my local grocery store had a humungous package of strawberries on sale. A one day only sale. So I bought some, asked my mom to borrow her canner, and went shopping for some cans. That's when I discovered the cost of cans. Holy cow! I was only making jam, but I was imagining myself canning tomatoes and whatever else I could grow in the garden this summer. But, yikes! The initial investment to get going would be a bit large.
So, I settled for a small 4 pack of squat little jars for my jam. I found the jars the day after I bought my strawberries. That afternoon after arriving home from work with my new jars in hand, I found a strawberry right in the middle of the strawberries completely covered in furry mold.
I plucked that one out and a few of it's neighbors and went in search of a jam recipe. I had forgotten to get the pectin. So, on day 3 of the strawberries life in my house, I was finally prepared to make some jam.
But, I learned that day, that it's best to store your strawberries in the refrigerator. My recipe told me I needed 5 cups of mashed fruit. I opened my strawberry package to discover that yesterday's mold had somehow taken over the entire pack of strawberries. I couldn't salvage even one little berry.
Figuring I was going to have to go out and purchase more strawberries, I called my mom to whine. She took pity on me and offered up one of her packages of strawberries.
Thanks mom!
Jam was back on.
So, here's the process:
Clutter up your stove with all your needed pots and tools.

Enjoy the aroma of the strawberries.Cut up the strawberries on your new cutting board made by your dad.
Here is the boiling of the mashed up fruit and sugar and pectin. Starting to look like jam.
And here is an example of the steam facial you will enjoy if you attempt this. The humidity I had created in the kitchen during this process gave my hair a crazy frizziness. Savannah and I headed out to the library after I was done and I had asked her if my hair was ok. "Sure," she told me, eager to get out the door before the library closed. Upon my return to our house, I caught my reflection in the glass front door. Medusa is the only way I can describe what was happening on my head.
And the jam:

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