Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Great Jam Experiment 2010

I grew up in a home where canning was the norm. I fell asleep many a night to the rattle and hiss of my mom's canner. She would can string beans, corn, home-made veggie stew and jam. It was so common place, I didn't think much about it as a kid. We had locally grown food year round. As I got older, I wanted to learn how to make my own food and can it. It seemed so tough to do. I surely didn't have the right supplies and I wasn't even sure what to do.

Saturday, on our way to a party, we stopped into a QFC. They had this seemingly HUGE container of strawberries. Alan asked me twice if I was sure that I needed that many. I assured him that I did. He then asked me what I was going to do with them all. I confidently, for no apparent reason, answered "make jam!" I went on to use them in a couple of July 4th baking projects, but still had 3.75 lbs left. So this morning I googled strawberry jam and jumped right in!

After a quick trip to Freddies to get the jars, I started hulling and then smashing 4 cups of strawberries, then juiced three fresh lemons and readied 4 cups (gah!) of sugar.

Once I had it all laid out, I put it on the stove and got it to a rolling boil of 220 degrees for 10 minutes.

While the jam was cookin' I readied the jars and lids. I dug out my stock pot thinking that it would be plenty big for the four 12 oz jars of jam. It would have been, had I been able to just set the jars down in the pan. Unfortunately I learned that I needed to set them on a rack in the stock pot. With some creative finagling I was able to get them in the pot and covered with the appropriate amount of water where I let them boil for 15 minutes.

When the timer buzzed I removed them from the water and let them cool until each one of the lids "pinged" to indicated they were sealed tight. I was really proud of my handy work. I definitely want to try to can some other stuff. I need to collect up more jars and then plot away! Arminda promised to help me do pickle string beans, and I would love to can up some veggie soup and chili. Come winter time it would be nice to just pull something home-made off the shelf and have a healthy home-made meal in seconds!