Monday, June 7, 2010

Before and After Party: Strawberry Jam!

009Geez Louise, you could practically pull my fingerprints off that picture! ;)

I have to start off this post by letting my Dad everyone know that yes, yes I CAN cook. I can bake. I can make dinner. And I can even pour milk into a cereal bowl.

All of the above. (The last one I do very well, thankyouverymuch.)

I just don’t cook and bake very often. With hubby’s crazy work schedule and a three-year-old who lately eats nothing other than cheese and hot dogs, I just don’t do it as much as I’d like.

But something about my transforming (beautiful!) kitchen and summer is making me want to cook and bake up a storm. (I’m going to try a out a doozy soon and will be sure to show you.)

So when I saw my friend Beth’s post about making strawberry freezer jam (and how unbelievably easy it was), I knew I had to try it!

Today was an absolutely positively gorgeous day here in the Midwest, so I corralled my BFF and her daughter, and the four of us took a trip out to a local berry farm to collect strawberries:

002

It was a big-fat-white-clouds-in-a-perfectly-blue-sky kind of day – lovely!!

We put the kids to work starting picking the berries:

003And the smart ones (the kids) realized VERY quickly that picking strawberries – not so fun. It’s hard work! So they stood around pointing to the good ones while the moms picked through the plants. :)

We finished our afternoon with some ice cream and a visit with the resident cutie-patootie doggy:

019

He’s just a BIG SWEETAY!! (If you can tell me where that’s from, I’ll send you a dollar. Just kidding. I’ll really want to send you one but won’t. Maybe a virtual dollar.)

Anyhoo, this evening I got to making my JAM – for the first time ever!! It was SO incredibly easy! If you read Beth’s post, this is pretty much a complete copycat of hers, but I have a dark stove and counters and she has light ones.  :)

I started with my luscious berries – I got extra just in case, and ended up with about five pounds of berries:

After rinsing and cutting off the stems, I used a potato masher to smash up the berries to two cups (smashed):

I didn’t even chop up the strawberries first. I had to start with about 2.5 cups (maybe a little more) of berries to get the two cups smashed.

Then, add to the mashed berries FOUR cups of sugar:

YES. Four cups.

Yes, that is only two. Add FOUR. Like Beth said, “Just don't think about it.” She’s right. I had to force myself to pour it all in. But I hear it’s totally worth it in the end so just close your eyes and POUR. :)

Mix it all together, and keep mixing here and there for about ten minutes:

For the last two minutes of that ten, take a package of Sure Jell and mix it with 3/4 cup of water on the stove:

 

After it starts boiling, let it boil for one minute and keep stirring!:

Take the mixture off the stove, add it to your berries and heart attack sugar, and stir for about three minutes (maybe a bit more).

Then take your so-cute-I-could-just-die jelly jars from Wally World:

I think it was about $8 for 12 of them?

And fill them up, about a half inch from the top of the can:

 strawberry freezer jam 

Let them sit at room temperature for 24 hours, then you can freeze them. I plan to bring them to cook outs and Fourth parties throughout the summer as gifts to the hostess – maybe with some yummy bread on the side? How precious is that?

And once I make a super cute label to dress them up, they’ll be too cute for words. Anyone know if these are OK to freeze until the holidays? If so, then the mailman better like strawberry! :)

I haven’t tried them yet, but I did have to lick the spoon at the end and YUMMO – it was good!!

I couldn’t believe how easy this was! I did two batches and that made 11 jars of jam and both only took me about an hour to make. Rinsing and cutting the stems off the strawberries took longer than the whole process did!

I still have about a pound of berries left too, so I didn’t need nearly all that we picked.

So my different kind of before and after for this month…

Before:

And after!:

Yes I'm wearing an apron

And yes Dad, I do own an apron.  ;)

So now it’s time to see your before and after projects!! Anything goes – as long as you have a before picture to share, cause we all know that’s half the fun!

PLEASE link to directly to the post, not your blog. (I have to delete those and I hate it!) To link to your post, right click on the post, copy, and then paste that url into the linky.

You can link up till next Monday -- have fun!

 

Thank you to my sponsor!:

rustedcapture125

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