Monday, May 01, 2006

We be Jammin'

I didn't accomplish much in the way of knitting this weekend, instead I got a lot of yard work done on Saturday and part of Sunday. The rest of Sunday was spent picking strawberries and making jam. My husband and I went to pick strawberries at Pope's Farm in Knightdale. If you've never been strawberry picking you should go - the berries are much better than anything you can buy at the supermarket and cheaper! We each started with an empty bucket and picked berries for about 1/2 hour until our buckets were full. Well, the buckets hold about 10 pounds of berries each - so we ended up with twenty pounds of strawberries!

This is what twenty pounds of strawberries looks like:

There is no way the two of us can eat that many berries before they go bad. But when you are picking them - it's addictive. So on the way home form the farm, I decided I would make jam after I got some yard work finished. I ran to Wal-mart to get all the necessary supplies. I don't do a lot of canning - in fact, I've only made jam one other time and that was it. So, I needed jars and sugar.

I lined up all my supplies and searched for a how-to online so I could refresh my memory. Who new there were two different methods for processing the filled jars? Not me. Apparently there is a method where you use a hot water bath to seal the jars or something called the inversion method. All there is to the inversion method is filling and capping the jar then inverting it from anywhere from a minute to an hour to get it to seal. I decided to follow the safe advice and use the water bath method even though it is more involved and took a lot longer and I followed the recipe that came with the fruit pectin.

Who decides to do this type of time consuming task late on a Sunday afternoon? Well apparently I do - I am notorious for starting projects at inopportune times. But I always finish them in the end. The biggest pain was washing all the jars and lids. After everything has been washed and sanitized, you have to keep the jars and lids warm until you are ready to use them. My husband decided to steal a few of the berries and make us some yummy smoothies. So I got all that all set up and started to make the jam. It really is simple. Just a couple basic ingredients and heat, lots of heat!

And here you can see my strawberries being stewed alive in the boiling cauldron of death.

So I started this little project yesterday around 5:00, I finished around 9:30 or 10:00, but we will have jam for the rest of or lives. There are now 32 little jars of strawberry jam sitting on my counter waiting to be stashed away in the pantry. I'm going to have to find a home for some of it though... I just don't think my husband and I can eat this much jam.

This project was a lot of fun. I plan on going to the local farmers' market to see what else I can find to stuff into jars. I'm thinking I'd like to try some salsa next.


Sourire11 said...

I found your blog through the knitting blogs webring and just wanted to say hi b/c I love strawberries! Your jam must be amazing. I had no idea canning was that simple…I may have to try it!

allelejean said...

Great job on the Jam! :) Someday I'm going to grow a bunch of strawberries myself (my mom used to) and make my own jam. We also used to make our own salsa. It's just as easy, if not easier than making jam. Just cut up a bunch of veggies, cook, and can. Good luck!

krista said...

Well feel free to send some jam on over to me sister!

Zonda said...

Yummmy jams! We didn't get great strawberries in Fay. this year and no time...

BTW a great hint for canning (wash and rinse in dishwasher if you have it (jars only) keeps the jars warm and take out what you are ready to pour. Lids and rings on stovetop in a pan simmering. Seal them, set them upside down to cool, then when cooled, check the lids..not sealed do water are golden! Feel free to email me with more ?? :)