So...my SD card crashed yesterday. After I took about 70 pictures of me and my family making homemade strawberry and apple jam this weekend. Urgh! The Hubs is trying to recover my SD card pictures now....we will see how it goes. If he can pull it through, I will update with some pics tomorrow. Some of them were really great. But alas...this means nothing to you, as you stare at my boring, un-illustrated words. The show must go on I guess.
Spoiler alert! I may be discussing what some of you may get for Christmas in this post. But please read on.... :)
We decided to try our hand at strawberry and apple jam this weekend. Both turned out to be a tremendous success. I used the strawberry jam recipe that came on the fruit pectin box. I used an apple jam recipe that I got from Kelly over at Imperfect Homemaking. Both were great. The apple jam, however, was absolutely phenominal. It has some added spices that just made it so flavorful.
I would like to mention that I do not own any canning equipment. NONE. I don't have a hot water bath canner, or a funnel, or special tongs or anything. I just used what I had at the house already, and it turned out fantastic. I used three large stock pots, and a pair of sturdy kitchen tongs to pull the jars out of the hot water.
The Hubs sharpened all my knives for me before I got started chopping hundreds of strawberries and apples. Yeah... so I quickly determined the power of his sharpening skills and sliced right through my thumb. As my Monkey would say "owie bo-bo!" Once I got the bleeding to stop, and got myself all bandaged up, I continued on. The Hubs pureed the fruit in the food processor for me. Sissybug helped with peeling and chopping the apples. It was a great family activity. Any time you can get a 14 year old in the kitchen, excited about making jam, I think that is just fantastic.
It was defintely a group effort. I could not have done it by myself. It is such a process of quickness, and keeping the jars hot, that I needed The Hubs and Sissybug's help. Sissy was my official photographer. She did an excellent job. (Not that you would know that, since none of the pictures are saved...ok, ok, I will get over it..moving on)
We sterilized our jars in a large pot of boiling water, then transferred them to a 200 degree oven to stay warm until our jam was cooked and ready. We kept that same water simmering and boiling, ready for the processing once the jars were full. We kept the lids and rings hot in simmering, but not boiling water. Per the recipes-I ladeled molten hot fruit into jars, The Hubs used his callous ridden man paws to put the steaming lids on, and SissyBug took photos of everything like a paparazzi. Then, we placed our filled and lidded jars in our regular old pot of boiling water with good strong tongs. We made sure they were covered by about 2 inches. We waited 10 minutes...and out came gorgeous jars of homemade strawberry and apple jam. As our jars cooled on the counter, we could hear the "pop!" of them sealing as they cooled.
The Hubs laughed at me about this. True to my nature- I fussed over the jars like a nervous mother hen and checked them a million times. Convinced I had messed it up and they would never seal. I actually jumped for joy and did a little 'Yip!" when my first jar popped sealed. It is the little things that excite me.
I am trying to be more intentional with my gift giving this year, and plan on giving gifts that we made ourselves to most of the people we love. It is part of our new lease on life of spending less, doing more ourselves, and being self sufficient. I think some jars of homemade apple jam beats an ill-fitting sweater from Target any day. Plus our blood (literally..ok not really...I promise) and sweat went into making every jar. Our family enjoyed a wonderful evening together, working on these gifts together. I hope everyone who receives our homemade jam this Christmas enjoys it as much as we did.
And when I say we enjoyed it....we ate an entire jar the next morning. Sissybug ate 6 bisquits....with apple jam....seriously.
Hope you enjoyed my non-illustrated post. I promise I will try my hardest to add pics tomorrow.
Happy Monday. Happy Fall.