Wednesday, July 10, 2013

In a Jam

I think I mentioned yesterday that I'd made a trip to my parents house.  Well, my mom sent most of the stuff I still had at their house home with me.  Or as much as would fit in my car.  A huge box full of pictures and childhood memorabilia.  And another full of stuff from my grandparents houses.  And a laundry basket full of the rest of my set of china.  Yup, I have a full set of china.  Don't really know when I'm going to use it, but I have it.  My mom bought it for me back in college.  Oh, and my wedding dress.  I brought that back too.  And now everything (except for the china which is already put away in the cabinet) is now stacked in our office until I figure out what to do with it.  And there are two more huge tubs coming this weekend with my parents.  Those are tubs full of wedding stuff to sell on Craigslist.  All the table decorations, candle holders, that kind of thing.

Anyway.  The real reason I went to my parents was to make jelly with my mom.  Or more specifically jam I guess.  My mom has always done lots of home canning.  Lots.  Green beans, pickles, apple sauce, beets, apple butter, jam and jelly.  What she didn't can, she froze.  We always  had frozen corn, apple sauce, rhubarb, and more juices to make jelly.  I didn't know you could buy those foods at the store until I was way old.  Let me tell you, my mom's homemade applesauce is ten times better than anything you can buy at the store.

So I decided I wanted to learn how to make and can jelly.  It ended up being jam.  Jelly is just made from juice where jam is made from the whole fruit.  In case you were curious.

For our jam, we made plum.  That was my request.  My mom had stuff to make plum jam, plum jelly, or peach jelly.  She had canned plum and peach juice last summer.  And she'd frozen processed plums for jam last summer too.  So, before I got there she pulled out the plums to thaw so they'd be ready to jam.

Plum is my absolute favorite.  When I was a kid, we had a family friend who had plum trees and she always let us come over and pick plums.  So we always had lots of plum jelly.  It always makes me feel like a little girl.  Yesterday I made scrambled eggs and toast and put my plum jam on my toast and it took me right back to my childhood.

For each batch of jam, we used 5 3/4 cups of processed plums.  Those got poured into a huge pot with a package of Pectin.  You just cook it until it starts boiling.  Then you add 8 1/2 cups of sugar (that you've remembered to measure out before you start cooking).  You just keep stirring and cooking until it starts to boil again, then set a timer for 4 minutes and keep stirring until your timer goes off.

You need to have jars ready to go before you start cooking your jam.  We also heated up a cereal bowl full of water in the microwave (about 3 minutes) to put our canning flats in.  Pull the bowl out, put your flats in so that you're ready for the canning.  You'll also need canning rings so that the jars will seal.

Once your timer goes off, you're ready to start filling jars.  We used pint jars and our recipe made about 5 jars of jam.  You'll want to use a ladle and a funnel to fill your jars so you don't make a giant mess.  Fill about two jars at a time.  Once they're filled, wipe the top of the jar off, put your the flat on top of the jar, screw on the ring as tight as you can, and set aside until you hear the jar seal.  Helpful tip, hold on to the jar with your dish rag while you tighten the rings so you don't burn the heck out of your hand.

We ended up making four batches of jam.  So around twenty jars.  My mom sent half of them home with me, I don't know what I'm going to do with that much jam, but man, it's good.

Anybody else tackling projects that are things your granny would have done?  What are you working on this week?  I've been working on my Clean in 2013 plan.  And am off to the Habitat ReStore today.  Excited!

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