Friends, today my eyes don’t seem to want to cease producing tears. Fortunately before I knew what the day held, I did not put on makeup. So I shouldn’t scare the small kids at elementary school pickup with mascara down my face. It’s an “eat all the chips and salsa” kind of day. One where I really wish someone from Brio would just show up at my door with their warm sourdough bread and butter. Then I could take a picture of it with this strawberry jam. But instead, you get a picture of the jam and an empty plate. And honestly, while this jam is amazing, it would outshine the butter with that Brio bread, and I love butter…
The tears are just because motherhood is not for sissies. Just, haha. It’s amazing how these
small taller than me people can pull on my heart so much. Other people pull on my heart, but I can and need to have boundaries to let go of those . My kids, though. Ugh. I miss the days of blowing bubbles and finger painting and “I love you more than…” conversations. I miss the little hands, the snuggles, and the singing “Jesus Loves Me” after reading the Bible before bed. I miss the greatest temptation for them to lie being over Halloween candy.
Watching these kiddos grow up and releasing them to do so more and more is incredibly hard. Every unwise decision, I’m quick to feel like, “Failed with that one. Better luck with the other three.” (I rotate through which one I’ve failed with, so there’s no point in trying to guess.) After my all or nothing feelings have subsided, God brings me back and reminds me that he is the much better parent. Amidst our shortcomings in the parenting department, God is orchestrating the circumstances of our kids’ lives in ways that we cannot. So my tears today are a mixture of confusion, sorrow, and overwhelming gratitude.
this is my jam
This strawberry jam… Since it’s the peak of strawberry season, I must share this recipe with you now. I’ve already made it three times with some of the 18ish pounds of berries I brought back from picking. Reasons I love it: it uses natural pectin from a green apple, not from a box. You don’t have to mess with all the canning supplies and boiling water to seal, etc. I wash my jars and lids and then pour boiling water over them, mainly to help them dry quickly without a towel, but also to partially sterilize them. After you fill the jars with the hot jam, make sure the top of the jar is dry/jam-free to ensure a good seal. Place a self-sealing lid on top and a metal ring band, flip them upside down and the hot jam will create a vacuum seal.
You can make this jam with two pounds of any berries. Please try to use fresh berries that you pick or from a farmer’s market. Grocery store strawberries will work, but they’re quite firm. Also, the only reason I often hate making jam is because I see how much sugar goes into it. Pectin needs sugar and acid to jell. The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds of sugar. I just can’t do it. I use one pound (about 2 cups), and mine still jells. This strawberry jam is divine on popovers. I’ve also been failing in the school lunch department, so I’ll be using some of our fresh jam to make Oatmeal Jammy Bars this week.
- 2 lb carefully sorted and rinsed berries
- 1 to 1 1/2 lb sugar (2 to 3 cups)
- one green apple, skin and flesh grated but no core
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
Rinse the berries. If using strawberries, hull and slice them. Weigh two pounds into your pot. Weigh one pound (or one and one-half pounds) sugar into the pot as well.
Mix the berries, sugar, grated apple, and lemon juice in the pot. It should be no more than half full or the jam will splatter. Mash with a potato masher until well mixed and the berries are mashed and juicy.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Use the spoon to skim off the foam that rises to the top. This will keep the finished jam clear. (I keep a glass measuring cup next to the stove and spoon the foam into that). Boil for 15 minutes. Stir frequently until you feel the fruit start to stick to the bottom of the pot, and then stir constantly.
When the jam is thick, drip a small amount onto a chilled plate. Run your finger through the jam. If the juices don’t run back together, it’s ready. If not, cook for 5 minutes longer and check again. Repeat if necessary. Most berry jams will jell in about 15 minutes, though juicy berries may take a little longer.
Ladle the hot jam into the clean jars. Seal with the lids and ring bands. Turn the jars upside down and let cool completely.
When cooled, turn the jars right side up and press the center of each lid. If it remains depressed, it is vacuum sealed, and you can store the jars in a cool place for up to 1 year. If it pops back up, keep it in the refrigerator and eat within 3 weeks or freeze it to use later.