© 2008 – 2010, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.
You know that I’m a little crunchy.
Do you know what crunchy means? I’ll tell you, just in case. Â It’s the movement to live in the most healthy and environmentally friendly way. Â The following terms are commonly associated with crunchy people: vegetarians, conservationists, environmentalists, tree huggers, liberals, nature enthusiasts, earthy, organic, home gardeners, natural living, gentle discipline… are you getting the idea?
I say that I’m a little bit crunchy because there are some things that I just can’t get into. Â Like cloth reusableÂ menstrualÂ pads. Â Reusable means that you wash it out and reapply it, you know? Â I’m not into that. Â And not vaccinating my kid? Â No, thanks. Â We’re joining theÂ inoculatedÂ masses, thanks. Â And homeschooling? Â Um, no. Â I’m a public school teacher because I believe in the system. Â I’m not saying that these things are bad, necessarily, they’re just not for me.
Now that you know what I’m talking about, I’ll go on. Â I want my food to be grown as organically and as close to our little abode as possible. Â It tastes better, it’s more nutritious, and it’s so much cheaper. A couple of weeks ago, I packed up my husband and the baby, and we found a local berry farm. Â We picked 8 quarts of our own black and red raspberries. Â On the way home, we stopped at a produce stand and purchased some cherries from another local farm. Â We got home, cleaned the berries and the cherries, and then I made jam.
I wasÂ hesitantÂ to post about this because all of my friends are impressed with my jam-making. Â Once they find out how easy it is, they’ll not be impressed any more.
The first batch of jam was plain old black raspberry jam. Â Joe started out by mashing the berries with my potato masher. Â He also attempted to strain out the seeds, but that was a big ole pain in the arse, so he quit after a few cups. Â I measured 6 cups of mashed berries into a large non-Teflon pan. Â According to the low sugar Sure Jell box, I needed 4 cups of sugar, too, so I measured that out and left it in a bowl next to the stove. Â I mixed the Sure Jell with 1/2 cup of the sugar, so it wouldn’t clump, and I dumped that little bit of stuff into the berries. Â After mixing it, I turned it on high.
Here comes the only difficult part. Â I had to stir the berries constantly until they boiled. Â It took 15 minutes or more. Â If I quit stirring, even for a few seconds, the berries bubbled up and splattered. Â Once the hard boiling started, the recipe said to add the rest of the sugar, mix well, and boil it for another 10 minutes. Â Once I did that, I removed it from the heat, skimmed the berry foam into a glass bowl, and immediately put it into hot half pint jars, put the lids on the jars, and screwed on the rings. Â
I was supposed to get 7 jars, but I got 9. Â Bonus!
The last step was to get a water bath going, and boil the jars in the water for 7 to 10 minutes. Once that was done, I put them on a cooling rack with a towel underneath and overtop and let them sit for 24 hours. Â
I made a second batch of jam with sweet cherries and black raspberries together and then a third batch with strawberries.Â
When I was finished with all of the jam, I had three glass bowls full of jam/foam that we’re currently using for spreading on bread and mixing with our oatmeal. Â It is so much better than the grocery store stuff that it’s unbelievable.Â
Next on my list – blueberry jam and peach butter.