Yesterday was a busy day at the Rock House. Because the boys and I were super berry pickers, I now had about 13 pounds of strawberries to deal with before they went bad. Luckily, last summer I got brave and tried canning strawberry jam for the first time. My grandma always used to have some kind of homemade jam, and I missed it. Store bought just isn't the same, so I gave it a shot, and it ended up being so easy. And it didn't really take that long. Well. Let's remember that last year, I only canned about 4 pints at a time. Turns out that 13 pounds of berries will make quite a bit more jam than 4 pints. Let's try three hours of kitchen duty. Not something I usually find enjoyable.
Luckily, brown baby loves to sleep in her Beco Butterfly:
And the boys were busy being gardeners in the front yard:
Pacey was on landscaping brick removal duty-- $ .25 per ugly, red brick-- and he knows how to capitalize. He made close to $30. And is quite proud because he figured out that over the weekend, he lifted half of a ton. Something I'm sure will be a hot topic at the lunch table today.
Gage joined in on the brick removing fun, too, but gave up (not surprised, are we?) after only $7 and went to a much more creative endeavor.
I had fun mashing berries in the kitchen. I turned Pandora radio to the Matchbox 20 station and pounded away. Pounded and smashed, pounded and smashed... I'm thinking there may have been some pent up frustration going on here. It was way too much fun.
All of that smashing resulted in 15 cups of berries (thank goodness I got my grandma's huge canning pot) that needed 21 cups of sugar added to it. Yes, 21 cups of sugar. Who knew jam required that much sugar? Which is exactly why it's so good, but I'm not sure it can be considered a fruit after all that.
Now those who know me know that I am not so much a cook of any kind. I burn things. I mix up steps. The fact that the recipe is written for 5 cups of berries and 7 cups of sugar, and I had to triple it left me stressed. I was convinced that somewhere my tripling calculations would be off and the jam would be ruined. Husband always tells me not to do public math. Kitchen math is equally as dangerous.
Boiling the canning jars makes me feel like something of a chemist.
So does simmering the lids... The fact that I had three pots actively going on the stove is not lost on me. I actually didn't burn or overflow anything.
The result: 15 pints of delicious strawberry jam!
It was a great Sunday, and I love that I connect with my past by doing things like canning jam. I love sharing these kinds of traditions with my family and creating something that everyone at the Rock House loves.
How do you stay connected with your past?