Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jam Session

Jam. It's just so good. Even better when it's made in my kitchen and not in some factory where there's a good chance the worker who screwed my lid on just finished scratching his butt...

I recently invited my friend D over to join me for a jam session. She, like many other friends, has been asking me to teach her about canning ever since I gifted her and her peanut butter and jelly loving kids with a jar of homemade blackberry preserves. I was all too eager to share what I know and catch up on a little girl time in the process.

The recipe of the day was blueberry jam. Yes, I realize it's not blueberry season but our local grocer was having pretty good sale and my jam stores were running low so I decided this would be a good opportunity to make more. And when I mentioned my weekend plans, D dropped some not so subtle hints about how she would LOVE to learn how to make jam.

After shooing the kids outside, I morphed into a high school home economics teacher.Though canning is fun and highly satisfying it is super important that you pay attention to what you are doing so I put aside the girly gossip for a minute and got serious. I wish I had a pointer and a chalkboard. Anyway...things must be measured correctly and timers must be set to avoid injuries and nasty jam. Yes, I said injury. What's so dangerous about canning you ask? You've obviously never canned with me. I burn myself. Everytime. I have scars to prove it. But I digress...

I rattled off about rusty screw bands, foamy jam, pectin (we used low sugar, my first time with that particular product), set, and seal. Besides burning myself twice with the steam from the canner ( I told you!!) and a flurry of last minute jar prep (I grossly underestimated how many jars we would need) things went off without a hitch. We ended up with ten jars of yummy, wholesome, homemade blueberry jam to share.

D and her first jar of jam!
Canning is certainly a more enjoyable experience when there's more than one cook in the kitchen. Two sets of hands not only make everything run more smoothly, but the companionship and camaraderie that arises when a group of women get together and feed each other's family is just incredible. I imagine way back when, the females of a family, peeling, mashing, slicing, stirring, sweating....catching up on family business, reconnecting with each other over boiling kettles and roaring fires. Hard work? Of course! But so much more than just a necessary task. I had so much fun canning with D I'm thinking I might host a Put 'Em Up Party for my girlfriends. Fruit, steam and maybe.....wine? Sounds like a good time to me!


  1. That is a great idea for a canning party! I don't have any friends that can, so it would be a great way to introduce them to it! Burning myself with the jam is my biggest fear, it always freaks me out when it spatters, but I have yet to burn myself (touch wood). You have made me yearn for a hot kitchen smelling of warm fruit. Sigh...

  2. Ok I thought I was the only one who worried about where the hands on my food were! The other day we ran through BK (shame on us...but hey I was on a yard sale mission) and all I could think was how she sounded kinda sick and I hope she didn't wipe her nose and touch my food...ewwww
    Anyhoo...I want to make jam so bad but it gets way too hot for me...wonder if I can talk my hubby into helping me? hahahaha

  3. And every single time you or D spreads this jam on your kids' toast, you'll think of each other and the day you spent making it. My mom and I make peach conserve every August, and now my kids help; I love the continuity of it, as we used to help mom with it when we were kids!

    We had a preserve swap a few years ago; everyone invitee brought x number of jars and then we swapped! So fun...great way to build variety in your pantry!

  4. Thought you might like this:

    Also, I'm off facebook. Can you send me your email? annakhf@hotmail


  5. Hey, Stephanie! I mentioned you in my blog post today when discussing elephant poo paper!!