April 5, 2011 § 3 Comments
Things have been so crazy around my house lately that my cooking has slowed down a bit. I mean, I’ve still been feeding people, but haven’t had the energy to do the whole cook/photograph/write something about it routine. It’s been more like survival cooking. Think nachos, pizza, spaghetti with tomato sauce, and the like. Nothing too creative.
A couple of weeks ago, though (see, I told you I’ve been busy!), my sister-in-law and I went strawberry picking with some of our kids and brought home about 20 quarts of berries. It was perfect weather, the berries were incredibly cheap, the girls had a great time finding the “best” berries (and eating them right then and there), and I was excited about all the culinary potential coming home with us! What to do with them?
Well, we just ate a bunch of them. I froze a good portion, too (look for a strawberry basil ice cream recipe coming up sometime in the near future). But, Kristi and I decided since neither of us had ever made jam, that was what we were going to do with the rest of them. It would be a learning experience that would gain us some refrigerator space while making something nostalgic and tasty at the same time.
We researched and watched videos like this one, and ultimately used an Ina Garten recipe found here. Besides the fact that it took about three times as long to make as the recipe stated, it went pretty well for our first time. We borrowed her mom’s old canning supplies to help us sterilize everything, but we made such a small batch, I think that was pretty unnecessary. I’ll just consider it good practice.
Truthfully, I’d been wanting to make jam for a long time, so I was happy to get the experience under my belt. I really liked the final product, too. As is the case so many times in my house, it wasn’t exactly loved by everyone (“too tart!”), but what are you gonna do? In my mind: I made my first jam! We even got the jars to seal and everything, so even with some naysayers, I’m calling it an overwhelming success.