JUNE 6, 2012–STRAWBERRY JAM
June 6, 2012–Strawberry Jam
I am spoiled. My Hunni is spoiled. My kiddos are spoiled. We all are spoiled in that we rarely ever eat store bought jam. Strawberry freezer jam is the favorite around here, although I also make rhubarb, peach, and cherry. I have not made cooked strawberry jam for many years, as everyone prefers the freezer jam.
Today, I will reverse that trend. Today we cook Pioneer Woman’s STRAWBERRY JAM (pg. 276)
But to make jam, you must have strawberries.
So many years I picked strawberries with toddlers in tow, and I picked and tried to keep my kiddos out of other people’s way. One year the kids annoyed an older woman the last 45 minutes. They were annoying me too, but I wanted to get my four flats, so I just ignored them both. I’ll call that stage the Annoying Stage. Then we moved to the Whining Stage. “Hoooowww mmmuuch loooooonger?” “When can we leeeeeave?” “Mommi, I’m thirsty.” “Mommi, I’m itchy.” “Mommi, I need to go potty.” “When can weeeee leeeeeave?” The next stage was the Play Stage. Strawberries were thrown. Freeze tag started. My kids found other kids in the patch and began playing with them. At this stage, I required that every kid picked 100 strawberries. Finally we arrived at the Mildly Interested Stage. The rule was that they had to pick enough to cover the bottom of their flat. And then this year arrived. I couldn’t believe that the kiddos picked. Scout picked an entire flat. LBG (Little Big Guy) carefully looks at each and every strawberry to check for imperfections before placing it in his flat, so he picked half a flat. And Eloise more than covered the bottom of her flat.
Now Little Man was at the Wandering Stage and disappeared several times, but he usually ended up back in the car where he liked playing “Drive.”
We came home with four flats and no potty accidents.
We don’t pick four flats just for jam. We also freeze some whole–for smoothies, and we slice some with sugar for pancake and waffle toppings.
LBG and Scout helped cut the tops off the berries and slice them up.
Little Man helped himself.
I guess he was Quality Control.
The sliced strawberries were all bagged up for the freezer, so we decided to take a break. It was called lunchtime.
We just made strawberry smoothies.
After lunch, I lost my helpers.
It was time for target practice with a BB Gun.
Despite the cannonade, the HMS Indomitable survived. I will say that she lists to the starboard side a bit during bath time, though.
Back in the kitchen, there are still many more strawberries.
I started on the cooked STRAWBERRY JAM by mashing up the strawberries on a cookie sheet.
Ree Drummond’s recipe calls for 6 tablespoons of lemon juice. I know it is a rough estimate, but I wondered how much juice a fresh lemon (or in my case lime) produced.
I decided to measure.
In this test, a half of a fresh lime gave me a little under a tablespoon–about 3/4 of a tablespoon. Just a little fyi for your cooking. (fyi = for your information)
It was about this time that my jam making was interrupted by Little Man marching into the kitchen in black high heels.
I wondered what he was doing as he seemed focused on a mission.
He walked up to the freezer and with the six-inch boost (these are 4 aspirin shoes) he grabbed the freezer door handle then. . .
. . .Wheee! away he swung!
This is the same little boy who one day went out to the garage and got a baseball bat. He brought the bat inside and left it in the living room where I was typing a blog. Then he went to the bathroom and got the stool, which he also brought into the living room. I watched wondering. Then he placed the stool directly under our mobile of the Solar System and with bat in hand climbed on the stool. He gave the 10 styrofoam balls one mighty WHACK with the bat and then said, “I did it!” And left.
But back to strawberries. Here is the cooked jam. Unfortunately for me, I let it boil over, so now I have to scrub my stove.
After the foam was skimmed off, here are the jeweled strawberries. I always wonder if I could find a use for the foam I skim off, as it seems a bit of a waste, but I never have found a good use.
The jars are ready to be loaded into the canner. It is a good thing, too because it is almost time for swim practice and a baseball game. Soccer may have ended, but swimming just begun.
COMMENTS: We have eaten several jars of the cooked STRAWBERRY JAM. I though the kiddos might prefer the freezer jam, but they love both. These jars will make easy hostess gifts as the color is “jeweled” and the taste is delicious.
And here is what awaits me when I get home from the baseball game.
Wanna come over and wash them for me?
P.S. Dear Moms, If you are still in the Whining Stage or the Wandering Stage or the Playing Stage or the Annoying Stage, don’t worry. The hard work eventually pays off and they graduate into the Helpful Stage without you even realizing that they have arrived. Keep keeping on.