It began a week ago when Ronald, a local organic farmer, told me that his strawberries were just right for making my jam and I knew I had to do it soon because I'm going to Germany in a couple of weeks.
With that in mind I stocked up on organic sugar that I like to use (this sugar is not as fine as regular sugar) and made sure I had enough jars and lids. For some time I kept a recipe for homemade pectin and this was the year I was going to try it. Last year I made strawberry jam, and mixed fruit jam, using strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and my rhubarb that I grow in my tiny little plot in front of my house. My husband's favorite is the mixed berry jam. He likes his jams spreadable and I like mine runny, dripping off my toast, and excellent over vanilla ice cream. Last year I had used powdered pectin to give the mixed berry jam the consistency my husband likes.
On Saturday I visited my friend's Birgit and Robert, who have a wonderful piece of property, where Robert has planted a variety of usual fruit trees, berries, and a fantastic vegetable garden. It is a cooks paradise. We picked several pints of ripe blackberries and some green apples, not quite ready to eat but great for my homemade pectin.
On Sunday morning I bought my flat of strawberries from Ronald at the farmer's market. At the market I also noticed that, "Dirty Girls,” another local farm, (I love the name) had strawberries for jam on sale. I couldn't resist and bought another half flat. Here I was with 19 pints of strawberries and some additional fruit waiting at home.
Things that make jam making so much easier
If you don't buy anything else invest in a wooden spoon with a long handle, you need to stir the jam and it is very hot. Your three dollars investment will keep your arms from looking like Scar Face.
Make sure you have a tall pot because the jam will often bubble up dramatically and you don't want sticky jam on your stove top. A wide funnel will be a jam makers little helper when ladling the jam into the jars. I love it.
This year I added a pair of silicon glove pot holders to my arsenal. They're ok to have but not really necessary. I used them instead of tongs to get the jars and bands out of the hot water.
Have fun with your jam making. Once you have made homemade jam you and your will never eat the commercial stuff again. Many recipes call for adding spices and other favors. I 'm a purist when it comes to jam making. Using ripe fruit that has just been picked needs no other flavors in my humble opinion.