Last week at the Farmer's Market I bought a half flat of the most intense strawberries; a lot of the berries ended up going bad because there just aren't enough of us here at the house right now. I decided that I needed to make jam, though, so off we went to the Farmers Market to get strawberries so I could make jam.
I've never made jam before, so hit the canning aisle at Winco and bought 12 jars/lids, pectin, a funnel and other jam making supplies (~$25).
When we go to the market today, guess what?
No more strawberries. I missed my window of opportunity.
A decision had to be made right then:
do I proceed making jam from a berry that I would prefer seeded? My options were blackberries or marionberries. I bought a full flat of marionberries ($24).
Marionberries mean seeds, though, which I didn't want in my jam. That meant I needed to buy a food mill ($30). I also needed to buy more sugar because jam-making requires a lot of sugar.
See my goodies below: (borrowed the canner fom my mom)
My mom came over and was my hand model. She has great hands.
Anyway, here is my mom grinding the washed berries in the brand spankin' new food mill.
It worked well. I had little confidence in its ability to deseed the berries, but it worked amazingly well.
You can see 5 3/4 c. of fruit in the background and 8 cups of sugar in the foreground.
We didn't know whether to count the foam as "fruit" or not, but we decided it looked more fruity than foamy to us, so fruit it was.
We put it on to cook:
Here's some free advice:
when cooking jam, it's probably best to use a spoon that does not have a metal handle. Jam cooking gets really, really, really hot. Unfortunately, the longest spoon I own thatw on't be forever dyed red is a metal handled spoon.
The jam became the most beautiful reddish purple color as it cooked. So pretty.
Pour into jars:
Lid 'em and bathe 'em:
But damn, this was good shan jam!!
All in all it cost about $80 to jar 22 8 oz jars of jam, but I have grand plans for blueberry jam, raspberry jam and I may even do some pickling of green beans. I plan to get my money's worth from my supplies.
Wayne and my friend Stacy both joked that I sound like I've aged a few or four decades. Wayne said I really sounded old when I said I wanted to give jam away as Christmas gifts, but then I reminded him that we are on a very tight holiday budget this year. Yes, I guess I am old if I am thinking about Christmas in July. Ugh.
Anyway, jam making wasn't as difficult as I expected it to be. It was really fun, but it helped that my mom was here to keep me company. Solo jam cooking may not be quite as enjoyable, but I bet the reward is still just as sweet.