In 2015, we made about 12 half-pints of strawberry jam total throughout the Spring and Summer, and we discovered that each half-pint lasts only a week, on average. Once a jar is opened, we seem to find reasons to eat it - on homemade sourdough toast, on P&J, on vanilla ice cream. Realizing how much we enjoyed having homemade jam, we resolved to make more of it in 2016, and today Tom made a dent in our goal. His entire Sunday was spent in pursuit of strawberry jam.
It began in the morning, when Tom went to our local farmer's market and bought eight pounds of strawberries. He talked the the farmer, who was from Salinas, and discovered the strawberries were pesticide-free, and so he bought a great quantity. Tom also asked, if he wanted to buy even more, could she arrange that? and she said, given a week's notice, she could definitely promise him a large amount if he wanted it. Anyway, eight pounds of organic strawberries was $20, a steal if you calculate what you pay at Whole Foods for these (and often, at this time of year, the ones from WF are from Mexico, increasing your carbon footprint quite a bit).
When Tom came home with the strawberries, the entire house, including the neighborhood kids here playing Wii, started eating them - they were that hard to resist. Tom didn't get a picture because he was too busy shooing us out of the kitchen, but here they are in his new jam pot (his Christmas present from the kids):
The strawberries need to macerate for a long period of time, and then the juice is cooked down, and then the fruit is added and cooked down for hours, making the whole house smell unbelievably delicious. The upside of processing this many berries at once is that we are now in ownership of 13 half-pints (one of which we immediately gave to a neighbor) and 2 pints of lovely jam. The downside is that you spend most of your day in the kitchen, over a hot stove, when it's 88 degrees outside.
You know where to find your local farmer's market, yes? If not, check out Local Harvest - they'll have the scoop.
Next up, blueberry jam, as soon as blueberries are available.