As I’ve found myself in complete control of my own schedule this summer for the first time in, like, a zillion years, I’ve been doing things I’ve long wanted to do but never seemed to have time for.
Like making jam.
Last month, it was homemade strawberry jam. Now that the intense summer heat has kicked the local strawberry crop to the curb, it’s blueberry season here in Southeast Ohio/Northern Kentucky, and I headed across the river on Saturday to buy six pints of blueberries from Thistlehair Farm. They are things of beauty: the size of a big man’s thumb, and oh so sweet.
Clearly, jam needed to be made. As with my earlier batch of strawberry jam (since I’m getting my jam-making feet wet), I opted to add pectin, and used Sure-Jell’s low-sugar version. I prefer things on the less-sweet side generally, and the fruit was too good to douse with so much granulated cane. I ladled the hot jam into my new Ball Elite canning jars and processed them for 10 minutes.
My God, was the kitchen hot. All four burners going—two to heat the canning kettle, one for the jam and one to simmer the lids and rings—it was bloody hot. And I had the AC going. It made me think of my Mom’s stories of walking home for lunch when school had just begun in late August to the scent of tomatoes wafting through the neighborhood; Grandma canned quarts and quarts of tomato juice in her little bungalow kitchen, with no air conditioning to keep conditions manageable.
Want to start canning fruits and vegetables yourself? I highly recommend starting with the Ball Blue Book.