To be honest, these days I still enjoy at least sewing and cooking. Plus, I LOVE a good living-history museum. I even loved the Little House On The Prairie TV series, and would continue to watch it in reruns, if my daytime TV viewing minutes weren’t already commandeered by a certain explorer and her little monkey friend.
So this summer, seeing as I have all this free time on my hands (wait, what?), I took it upon myself to make jam. Not just refrigerator jam, which I have successfully made before, but real jam, where you boil the jars and everything. I’m not sure why I pick up hobbies like this on such a whim, it never really ends well for me.
So sometime in June, I went to my local library for a book about making your own preserves and home canning. I schlepped off to Walmart to buy mason jars, and the world’s largest pot to boil them in. I made extensive lists detailing what I would can based on when the various fruits came into season over the course of the summer. My daydreams involved lining my basement shelves with a myriad of jewel-bright jars. I could even gift them, right? RIGHT?
Well, the first things to ripen were strawberries, and seeing as we had a pretty wet June, they were a little later than usual to arrive. No matter. I picked up several pints of berries, along with a sack of sugar and some of those little packets of pectin, and I was on my way.
How NOT to can:
- Sterilize all your canning equipment in boiling water.
- Hull all your strawberries.
- Realize you don’t have nearly enough sugar to make jam.
- Go to bed.
- Buy sugar in the morning.
- Re-sterilize the canning equipment.
- Mash up berries and sugar in a pot on the stove. Heat them to boiling.
- Watch the substance in pot try to reach a boil.
- Watch it.
- Watch it.
- Wonder why everything in your pot has gone pink and foamy.
- Decide maybe that’s what “boiling” is, and start plopping the hot, pulpy, concoction into jars.
- Under-fill each and every jar.
- Boil filled jars, at a simmer, for several minutes.
- Forget about the jars for a moment, to catch the ending of Little House On The Prairie. It turns out Sylvia dies. Poor Albert.
- Remove jars from the water, and place them on a tea-towel on the counter to cool.
I don’t have to worry that I’ll die of dysentery. I’ll probably die of botulism first.
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This post also appears at Lovelinks. Check it out!!