It wasn't on my list of Monday chores, but with strawberries on sale for a rock bottom price yesterday, I decided to give it a go. After all, fresh food doesn't wait to be preserved. I felt sort of like a cheater because no, I didn't put up my own berries, or local berries, or even organic berries. Oh, the horror. I just bought the conventional ones... They were such a bargain at $.92 a pound. Perfect for learning on, don't you think?
The cashier knew what I was up to, for I had lemon juice, fresh canning jar lids, and pounds and pounds of strawberries! "You doing some canning today?" she asked. "Yep." I declared. "Oh, that reminds me of my childhood..." she reminisced. "I use to make myself sick eating so many strawberries from our patch in the backyard."
Aw...I love little exchanges like that in the check out line, don't you?
I tried to follow the recipe from Canning and Preserving to a tee as much is possible with a little one helping. What a silly idea that was!
Still, I think I lucked up. The water boiled. The jars did not crack.
The strawberries boiled down. I poured the mixture into jars without too much mess. I got them back into the pot and boiled them for 10 minutes. I let them rest for five minutes and then I took all the jars out and let them set there on the hoosier to cool. The lids did not bop back up when I pressed down on them and I even took the rings off and lifted the jars by the seals. The jar held tight!! Alleluia! I was very proud of my kitchen work yesterday. It was a total mess, but by the end of the day I went to bed with two fresh loaves of bread baked and several jars of strawberry jam sitting pretty on the countertop.
Throughout the whole day, I just kept thinking of the illustration at the very front of the book of Blueberries for Sal. That's sort of what my day looked like except, of course, without the crazy, gorgeous wood stove.
Yesterday felt so old school summery and I loved it!