Tuesday, May 28, 2013

DIY'ers or Do it Yourselfers

I love the idea of convenience, but I was reminded this past weekend that "convenience" has two different meanings depending on your location (city or country). "Convenience" for the purposes of my city life includes walking to our neighborhood gourmet grocery to pick up that last minute dinner item along with some extra things that are never on the list (gourmet kettle cooked potato chips, freshly cut hydrangea floweres...you get the idea). In the country, "convenience" means going to your basement to grab a jar of home canned green beans, tomato sauce, or a bottle of homemade wine. At our neighbor's Memorial Day barbecue, I had a chance to chat with some of these country folks who "put up" most of their food. (I was told, in no uncertain terms, that they are not hoarders! I'm not sure why my neighbor felt the need to clarify this.) Her husband makes his own wine and bottles it in bottles simply marked with a letter. (Neighbor: "Why make labels when you can just write an "R" on the bottle? Me: "Huh?") They make their own sausage. They raise goats and chickens. I am not able to do most of those things (no room in the city, not enough time in the country), but here is my attempt at self-sufficiency (though I sincerely hope we never have to survive on jam).

PamaJam (can also be called Strawberry Jam or "sugar bomb")
4 cups of mashed strawberries
7 (yes I said 7!) cups of sugar
1 packet of pectic
Mash and stir in sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Put pectin in, bring back to a boil, and boil for exactly one minute.
Ladle into sterilized jars and boil in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from hot water bath and listen for each jar top to make a popping noise. This will indicate that a seal has been achieved. Enjoy!
Sterilize jars (very important!)
Select and wash the freshest strawberries (hopefully from your local farmer's market or produce box)
Mash, mix in sugar, cook, add pectic, (see directions above) and "can" them in a boiling hot water bath for 10 minutes. Make sure the boiling water covers the jars by at least one inch. If you aren't comfortable with canning, you can always stop after the "mash, mix, boil in pectin" section and freeze in small containers.


All done!

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