Mornings, Messes, and Jam

Jam is a lot of fun to make.

Jam is a lot more fun to make if you aren’t the person who is making a huge mess.

This morning Mom and I began making jam, but out brains weren’t firing on all cylinders yet.  We therefore had a few mistakes and false starts before we got a product worth eating.

Attempt 1:

We put the sugar in the saucepan, turned on the heat, and promptly let the sugar burn into caramel.  Right… scrub that attempt.

We spend the next 20 minutes dissolving the rock hard sugar in the bottom of the pan and wash everything before trying again.

Attempt 2:

Success!  We have achieved jam.  But we promptly spill an entire jar of it over the counter, down the side of the cabinets, all over the floor, all over my mom’s clothes (who was thankfully not burned), all over the kitchen mat and pretty much just everywhere.  It was one big sticky mess.

We had four dogs trying to come over and check things out, shoes that became coated in jam and tracked it around that corner of the kitchen, and two aggravated cooks.  (To be fair, one of those aggravated chefs, namely me, was also pretty darn amused).

OK then… 20 more minutes of cleaning up, this time with industrial strength soap and hot, hot water.

At least this time we have achieved jam, even if all the jars are coated with it on the outside as well as in.  That will wash off, no?

Attempt 3:

Ah ha!  Success without disaster, although there was a close call.  Mom just about dumped jam all over again.

We now have 11 jars of strawberry jam and probably about 18 pounds of strawberries left.  More jam later today in which we will try adding chocolate.

Should anyone care for the recipe, here it is.  It has been adapted from numerous cookbooks.

Strawberry Jam

2lbs (4 cups) ripe strawberries, stems and bad spots removed
4 cups white sugar
Juice and Zest of 3 lemons

Combine all ingredients and bring to a simmer – skim off impurities.  Allow to simmer for 20 minutes, watching carefully to avoid kitchen mayhem.  Remove berries and pulverize (with a potato masher) while boiling the jam until 221 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Add pulverized berries back to pot and return to 221 degrees.  Immediately remove from heat and transfer to sterilized jars.


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7 Responses to Mornings, Messes, and Jam

  1. Megan says:

    Sounds fabulous and not too hard…. I want to try it myself. I had no idea you were still home!

  2. Shannon says:

    OMG – At least you and your mom are calm enough to be able to deal! Sounds delish!

  3. Your post brought back wonderful memories of my Mom making strawberry jam when I was a kid. I might even try my hand at making my own strawberry jam thanks to your story and your recipe.

  4. Jon says:

    My mother was the strawberry preserves maker for the entire clan. Her (circa 1947) stove had a deep well built in. The only thing it was used for (besides sterilizing baby bottles) was the making of strawberry preserves.

    Basically, combine enough strawberries and sugar to fill the deep well pan and begin to cook it.
    As it cooks down, skim the white stuff off the top.
    When it has cooked long enough, run half of it through (what she called) a food mill (really a conical aluminum device full of holes) with the encouragement of a wooden pestle about 2 inches in diameter and a foot long.
    Mix that back into the remaining cooked down berries and place in jars.
    Seal with paraffin.

    If it doesn’t “set”, you have strawberry syrup for pancakes.

  5. Tina Dempter says:

    Hey Kali,

    I will have to make this recipe for the fam. I know they will find it yummy. Maybe , if I get it right, they will finally stop razzing me about my cooking! 🙂

  6. rachey84 says:

    Alright Kali, I must say the second attempt and disaster I’m sure I would have been amused and I bet my mom would be as well, but glad you and Mrs G had a fun time making it together it seemed.

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