Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

One Jar Of Jam

So, I concluded that the best way to get organic strawberries for making jam is to grow them yourself.  I can’t take credit for the growing.  Ben gets all the credit.  I didn’t even want these strawberries in the yard anymore.  Now, I’m on the fence again.

I didn’t really think we had enough planted to do anything more than eat them out of hand.  I picked and saved berries for three days to make up the four cups I needed to make the recipe for Favorite Strawberry Jam from The Complete Book Of Small Batch Preserving.

Waiting just one or two more days for most of the berries to ripen at once would have been most efficient but that’s not really my style.  So we picked and saved and eventually had enough deliciously ripe berries to give it a go.  I thought I had jam making pretty much down but this recipe is made without pectin.  It’s not difficult but completely new to me.  Four cups of berries made one nice big jar of jam.  I didn’t even bother to process it.  We’ll just eat it right away.

The jam jelled and is yummy.  That and Friday was a beautiful day and I sat outside and prepared the berries while Chase worked on some drawings.  Avery took a nice long nap and everything was generally in order.  For just a few wonderful minutes I felt very at ease.  At ease and connected.  I almost never have the presence of mind to focus on anything and certainly not the task at hand.  I really did enjoy it.  And what didn’t get turned into jam?  The extras?  Chase knows how to handle them.

The recipe:

Favorite Strawberry Jam

4 c strawberries halved or quatered

2 c granulated sugar

1/4 c lemon juice

1. Mix berries and sugar and let stand for 8 hours, stirring occasionally.

2. Place berry mixture in a medium nonreactive saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Add lemon juice, return to a boil and boil rapidly for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 24 hours.

3. Bring berries to a full boil over high heat and boil rapidly for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.

4. Ladle into hot jars.  *I didn’t process this jam so it has to be stored in the fridge.  The recipe specifies processing for 10 minutes.

Makes 2.5 cups

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