Archive for June 24, 2007

Strawberry Jam with Mom

We went to the Cape to visit my folks.

Mom had a big bunch of fresh local berries waiting…

cape cod strawberries
sun-ripened and hand-picked… fresh strawberries from cape cod

… and she showed me how she makes jam. Growing up, we did not spend much time in the kitchen with Mom. She is the first to say she is not a fabulous cook, and I learned by trial and error as I got older.

Mom’s talents lie in other areas — she’s a nurse and even at age 70 she still works a full week, lending her caring hands and heart to those in need.
Her patients love her, and I am so proud of her.

Back to jam — Mom’s recipe isn’t much more than following the instructions in the Certo package. Nonetheless, it was fun to help. It’s so much easier than I thought it would be — I have to try my own hand at it one of these days.

Strawberry Jam

4 c crushed strawberries and their juice (from about 2 quarts fresh berries)
7c sugar
1 package Certo fruit pectin


Wash, hull, and crush the berries with a potato masher. Place in a large heavy pan, add the sugar, stir well and bring to a rolling boil (a boil that does not cease when you stir). Add 1/2 tsp butter if desired to reduce foaming. Add Certo and stir continuously at rolling boil for one minute. Remove from the heat and skim any foam from the top.

Ladle into sterilized jars.

The instructions call for processing sealed jars in a canner for ten minutes.
Mom always refrigerates her jam, so she doesn’t process it.
She seals the jars the way her mother and father did, and she told me how:

Fill the sterilized jars very near to the top and tighten lids very well.
Then while still hot, tip the jars upside down and leave for five minutes.
Turn them back right side up and you should be able to hear the vacuum seal forming — it makes a popping noise.
She does this on a tray in case of leakage.

boiling the berry crush and sugar
berry crush and sugar at a rolling boil

adding pectin to the berry crush
adding the certo…

stirring it up
mom stirring it up!

homemade strawberry jam
homemade strawberry jam

It’s funny how you go along, not realising your parents are getting older, then one day it hits you.

I am fortunate in that I see my folks often — my kids even more so. They live fairly close and I guess I take that for granted. It was really special to spend an afternoon in my mother’s kitchen, learning something new from her.

I need to make the time to spend more days like that, and I intend to 🙂

welcoming hammock between two old cedar trees…. my folks’ yard

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