We all grew up in the kitchen along side my Mother, washing and mashing fruit. Fitting lids to the proper jars. It was a Summer Activity. She would make a day out it. Making jam. I have fond memories of it. We always had jam. Our deep freeze was filled with all sorts of different flavors. It was a staple in our home. A few weeks ago, we gathered at my house. All of of the lovely ladies in my family that live close by. We made jam. It was a blast. There is something wonderful about being together. In a short amount of time filled with laughter and chatter, we made 13 bathes of jam. I think. We kind of lost count. But we filled approximately 100 jars. Each of us brought something, strawberries, sugar, pectin. We gathered and worked and it was wonderful. Oh and we ate too. We all brought yummy breakfast food as well. Jayme even made a bunch of yummy homemade rolls to sample the jam on. Yum. For the first batch we mashed the strawberries. Then I said, “Um, I have a Vita-mixer.” That was much easier. Just make sure not to puree. But then Jake wanted to help so we set him up to mash some more. We used MCP pectin and Sure-Jell. MCP is what my Mom used all growing up so it is what we are use to. However, it is not sold everywhere. Sure-Jell is what is in my grocery store so I usually use that. Difference? Sure Jell sets up a bit more jellier. I know that’s not a word but it describes it just fine. MCP uses Karo Syrup. So make sure you buy that if you are using MCP. Both are delicious. My sis-in-law in Washington just sent me some pectin made by Ball. That apparently doesn’t call for as much sugar. I will have to try that out soon and let you know how it turns out.We had lots of little helpers around too.We had so many batches going at a time, we had to label the pots so we would know which batches needed what at what time. It worked out for the most part.
Things to remember……Always add lemon. Even if the recipe doesn’t call for it.
If the jam doesn’t set just right and seems runny, just laugh and call it ice cream topping.
Read and reread the directions and try to read it at least once when you are not in middle of conversation. Although that may be tough at times. But then again, if you get the order of the directions wrong, it will still turn out. It’s fruit and sugar for goodness sakes. It’s going to taste good.
When making jam, invite people you love over. It is way more fun to make jam when your kitchen is filled with fun people. If your family doesn’t live close, then invite neighbors. Many hands make for light work. I told them as they left that I actually just tricked them all into coming and making me jam. We all came with empty bottles and left with them filled. It was a good day.