Julia and Julia. The premise seems to be women finding some kind of purpose beyond the every day life stuff, which will naturally lead to self-discovery (in the movies, at least). And I'm thinking "I need something like that." Then my other little voice says "You know, you have that blog you've totally neglected."
Yeah, I have, haven't I? The original purpose here was talking about what I've discovered trying to raise a family on a shoestring! So let's talk jam.
I've blogged jam before. My favorite website, if you want to learn to make your own jam, is Pick Your Own.org. These days jam and jelly are really easy to make (thanks to packaged pectin, which makes it gel without cooking it all day). You don't even need a canning set up - you can use freezer jars and freeze it instead of hot-water processing the jars for preservation. While the main purpose to most folks is flavor and jam enjoyment, the idea is to preserve food for later use.
TEFAP has been putting three pound bags of frozen blueberries in our allotments the last three months, so I'm making jam! One of the neat things about making your own jam is you know exactly what's in it. No preservatives, artificial colors, or corn syrup.
These berries are quite small, making them hard to crush. My first batch had far to many whole berries in it and was rather unspreadable, so the next batch I put them in my blender and pureed them. You need four cups of berry mash for this recipe, and the blender makes it really easy to measure.
I use Ball No-Sugar Pectin. It has natural sugars in it to encourage the gel but allows you to make jam with little or no added sugar. I add three cups of sugar (the max you can use, and half what regular jam takes) so you get the shiny color and nice gel. That, and a cup of apple juice (which adds liquid and also has natural pectin) is all you need. Just follow the cooking directions in the pectin package. This is not hard, but takes time and you really have to stir constantly. Then preserve it with the hot water bath or freezer method. Click this picture, you can really see the shine and color.
There'll be more jam coming, as it's berry season (raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are all in season). I just have to find time to go picking!
I gave my neighbor some jam because she brought me some King Salmon, and she tells me I should enter it in the Fair. In the Fair? My jam? She claims it's blue-ribbon quality, and she's been canning a lot longer than I have. So I guess Saturday I'll be heading to the Fairgrounds, jam in hand. Wish me luck!