Monday, June 21, 2010

Challenge: We were jamming!

Wow, did I have fun yesterday or what? My friends and I set June 20th as our challenge date for making jam, and we went nuts making all kinds of gooey strawberry concoctions!

We bought a 30 pound bucket of local strawberries from the Rotary Club, and they were already washed, cleaned, and packed in their own juices, so that saved us a ton of time. We each bought a case of jars, and we bought regular and freezer jam pectin, along with lemon juice, and a few other fruits to add to the jam.

The first jam was a freezer jam from the Certo packaging. Wow, it was sweet - too much sugar, I think! We figure we'll reserve this one for pancakes and waffles because it was really really sweet and would be too much for a sandwich. The second jam was a strawberry lemon jam we found in one of Raymond's preserving books. It was a processed jam with lemon as the thickener. It seems to have thickened well.

We went on to make strawberry banana freezer jam, strawberry lime processed jam, strawberry orange freezer jam, strawberry mint processed jam, and strawberry pineapple processed jam (scroll down). We couldn't help ourselves, we had to dive into the strawberry banana jam for dinner last night and it was fantastic!

I did not know freezer jam could be so easy! Seriously! We mixed the fruit together, then added the sugar and pectin mix and stirred, then put the jam in jars. Wait a bit, then eat. Seriously simple! I was shocked!

So we've set out sights on making blueberry jam when the season starts, and we're putting our names down for the cucumbers for a pickling party in late August/early September. And we'll be making applesauce as well. (Raymond makes an amazing apple butter, so I'm hoping he'll make some of that, too.) We have to try the pickled garlic again - last time we used organic garlic and it was incredibly strong, even after pickling - and I'd like to try the asparagus again, but the season's almost over and we won't have time next weekend as we're going camping (hooray!). We're lucky to live in farming country where we can get most of these products locally - Abbotsford (30 km west) is known for its raspberries, and Chilliwack is famous for corn - so we can get huge amounts for a lot less than it would cost at the grocery store.

What a great day! We spent time with our friends, made way too much jam - we made about 80 jars total - and covered the kitchen with strawberry juice. The house smells amazing and my tummy's full of jam! I need to make some scones so we can have scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream! I think I'll make some cute labels so I know what's what when we go into our cool, dark place in three weeks to extract the first jar of processed jam!

How are you doing on your challenge?

Mariaan sent along some amazing pictures of her weekend of crafting - bath bombs, shaving bars, lotions, and bubble bath as a present for her wonderful husband on Father's Day! I love her packaging and labelling. I believe it was her first lotion, so she got to experience the "wow" moment of emulsification. Way to go, Mariaan!

Next up for us - silkscreening on July 3rd! I'm so excited!

1 comment:

Laura said...

Congrats on the jam! It sounds like you had a great time, and the results look fantastic. My DH is planning to be out of town for four days at the end of July so I'm planning the cabinet-painting session then as a surprise for him. I'll also be replacing the upper door insets with frosted plexi and I plan to add white beadboard to the back of the upper cabinets. Can't wait to get it all done!