Saturday, June 27, 2009

Jam Artist

"I still haven't done anything with those strawberries," the Renaissance Man lamented earlier this week. "Maybe I should have you teach me how to make jam."

Say no more, dear friend -- I always stand ready to initiate others into the joys (and labors) of food preservation.

So I gathered up a handful of small canning jars, the rest of my own strawberries (a cup at best), and headed to his place to show him the ropes.


Though I washed and sliced my contributions to the pot, I made him do the work on the rest (and told him to consider it physical therapy for his healed arm). Once all the berries had been thrown into the pot, I mashed them until juicy and still a little chunky.


Meanwhile, he decided that the remaining foraged mulberries might be a good addition to the jam, so he added those as well as the necessary sugar.

I set him to stirring the pot as the jam heated up, while I set up his Dutch oven with jars and rings to be sterilized and let it start bubbling away.

I'll not bore you with the tedious details (stir, stir, stir; use tongs and strong language to remove boiling-hot glass jars from the makeshift canner; ladle hot jam cautiously into jars). We opened the back door for a good breeze, kept ourselves hydrated, and did the necessary.


But at the end of it all, he had one pint jar, one half-pint, and three half-cup jars of darkly glistening and not-too-sweet berry jam awaiting his pleasure.

Well, we didn't really have to wait too long: one small jar was opened in time for dessert so that we could top vanilla ice cream with this new berry "sauce." (An excellent decision!)

"That's all there is to it?" he asked as we stood back to admire his handiwork. And when I confirmed it, he started pondering other similar projects for later this summer.

Maybe this year, he'll make all the jam for me!

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