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It's hot working making jam

It's hot working making jam

This weekend a couple of teenaged boys, our nephews, stayed overnight while their parents took off for parts unknown.  We had to think of something to entertain them that would at least as interesting as IPods, IPhones, and all things computerized and digital which are in short supply at our house. 

What would you do?  We came up with the brilliant idea of making Strawberry Jam.  Initially they were less than enthusiastic, but they warmed up to the idea after a while.  Especially when they realized there was no way they could beat me at Scrabble.

So we hauled about 8 pints of frozen strawberries out of the freezer. and a bunch of jelly jars and lids up from the basement.  We had put up the strawberries last fall when it was too hot  and we were too busy to deal with them.   Now it is March and although spring is coming, we still have several feet of snow on the ground and it’s still cold out.  A perfect day for heating up the kitchen.

After a couple of false starts, Seth set to work with the food processor and turned the frozen pints into 6 cups of strawberry slush.  Tyler carefully made calcium water and measured 4 tsp into the strawberry slush as it heated up on the stove.   His job was to watch the pot until it boiled and to stir occasionally to prevent scorching. In the meantime, the jars were sterilizing in the slowly boiling water in the canner, and the lids were sterilizing in their own separate little lid pan.

Seth then put together 12 oz of  frozen apple juice concentrate with a 1/4 c of honey and heated that up on the stove.  At this point we had all 4 burners going. When  the apple juice concentrate and honey mixture started boiling Seth went back to his food processor.  This time it was to thoroughly mix the hot apple concentrate and honey mixture with the pectin.  Tyler added 4 tsp  of pectin through the hole in the top of the food processor while Seth pulsed and mixed.  When it was well mixed, Seth added it to the hot strawberry slush and we brought it back to a boil.  At this point the kitchen was hot and steamy. 

We lifted the sterilized jars out of the hot water bath and set up an assembly line.  I filled the jars, Seth put on the sterile lids using the nifty magnetic lid lifter, Tyler screwed them down, and Naomi put them back in the canner to boil for another 10 minutes.  

Tyler and Seth took a break and went off to play with the dog who had been banished from the kitchen for being underfoot and was feeling somewhat neglected.

Finally, when the timer went off to tell us that they were ready, I took the jars out of the canner and set them on a towel to cool.  It only took about 3 minutes for us to hear 8 satisfying pings.  Hurray, all of our jars sealed!

We didn’t eat the jam right away, although I did take advantage of the warm jelly that didn’t get in to the jars.  Very tasty. This morning the parents returned, a little bleary eyed but happy enough and collected their kids, dog and a couple of jars of jam.  Maybe we will do it again next year.

Disclaimer:  This post is not intended to be instructional on how to make jam.  I used the recipe in the box of Pamona’s Universal Pectin.

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