Sunday, March 29, 2009

War of the Jams, Part 2

So I gave up and tossed my original attempt at the strawberry freezer jam. I hate to do that, but I really had no way to salvage it.

For round 2 of the Jam War I wanted to be ready to battle. I went to the local big box store and stocked up on some things I decided I should have. A colander for washing/draining the fruit, dry good measuring cups, table/teaspoons, an egg timer and a veggie peeler. I'm trying to get everything in a non-reactive form (i.e, plastic, coated ceramic, or wood) so if I lose my mind and decide to make pickles I don't have to buy all new stuff. I also picked up Canning for Dummies which sadly didn't have an actual freezer jam section (their own loss, in my opinion).

I went to the still local, but much bigger grocery store, because frankly our little "Ma and Pa" mart is seriously lacking in the fresh fruits and veggies. I managed to pick up very very nice strawberries for about $2.50 a pound so I bought a lot more then I needed, but oh well. They also had a really good variety of jars from quart mason jars clear down to the fancy quilted jelly jars. Ironically, there was only about $1.00 difference in the flats of jars regardless of size.

I prefer wide mouth jars for just about everything you have to dig out. Sauces are one thing, but I hate trying to scrape around for that last bit of jelly and having it be just out of reach. And well, I like highest reward for the least amount of work. I picked up two flats of the wide mouth mason jars; one half-pint and one pint sized. I figure these are pretty good sizes for myself, and for smaller jars to give away to friends.

I was much more careful this time around about which pectin I chose, and I ended up just getting the regular ball "cook for 1 min" pectin. I trust something more when it has been used for decades, and I wasn't about to filch it again this time around.

I ended up making almost 20 jars of jam last night, and it turned out amazing. I'm very very proud of myself, and tomorrow I'll write a bit more to explain that process.

In the meantime, you can rest assured knowing that the Boy has been promised Belgium waffles in the morning.

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