One of my best friends is getting married in July. We decide it would be great to give homemade jam as the bomboniere. I can't say or type that word without some kind of accent. If I had to win an accent contest to save my life, I would die a pointless death. Jess puts a lot of stock in people's ability to do accents. If he had known about my lack of skill in this department, I'm not sure he would of started dating me. I'm not saying I don't have other things to offer in a relationship but certainly embellishing a story with a believable accent is not one of them. My life strategy has been to surround myself with well accented people to make up for this obvious void in my life.
A few days ago, my friend Heather and I had a major jam session. It took us eight hours to make 164 jars of jam. The only breaks I took were to feed the kids dinner, give them a bath, and put them to bed. Heather worked tirelessly until the job was done. We were able to get ourselves a few hours of child labour, but they unwilling to put in a full days work. Reya and Wini hulled and mashed strawberries. Ruby keenly sensed that we had over bought and spent the day eating as many strawberries and she could get her hands on. All in all it was maybe the most productive day I've had since I've had kids.
If you get a chance to go strawberry picking this season, go make some jam. Here's a great recipe;
Spiced Strawberry Jam
5 cups crushed strawberries, cleaned and stemmed
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 box powdered fruit pectin
1/2 tsp butter
7 cups of sugar
In a saucepan, combine the strawberries and spices. Add the pectin and butter to the saucepan. Bring to a full boil on high heat stirring constantly. Stir in exactly 7 cups of sugar and mix well. Return to a full boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove the saucepan from the heat and skim off any foam with a metal spoon. Ladle into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Cap, seal, and process in a boiling water bath canner.
Yields five 1/2 pints of jam.
For more information on canning check out Bernardin's website