Monday, June 22, 2009


My sister, Erica, makes the best jam.
Every summer she and her 4 kids put up strawberry freezer jam.
Enough for the whole year.
They work as a well oiled machine, mashing berries, boiling pectin, pouring into clear glass jelly jars.
She has told me that because of this good jam that her children will no longer eat store bought jam.
They turn their noses up at it with its gummy fruit and high fructose content.
They are jam elitists.
And really, I can't blame them. Every summer when Van and Erica drive through they stop to see us and they bring us a jar of that jam.
It is ruby red heaven in a jar. Erica gave me a jar to give to my other sister, Jenny, last year and I tried to hide it from Jenny. But she found it.
Good jam does things to you. And one jar is not enough. It is just a tease.
So a few weeks ago when my mom and dad came to stay, I asked my mom if she would help me make some jam. My mom also has the touch when it comes to jam.
I remember as a child being in the kitchen as she boiled and ladled ollalaberries into a deep purple jam.
She stopped to taste it. And them I think it was my brother, Chris, that she grabbed up into a jam dance,singing,
"Mommy makes good jam! Mommy makes good jam!"
We were shocked and excited. Seeing mom dance was something new.
We kids wanted to get in on both the dancing and the jam.
I decided I wanted to do strawberry freezer jam. So mom and I got the berries, the jars and pectin. And the 2 five lb. bags of sugar. Yes, you read that correctly.
Mom cut and I mashed. I boiled pectin and sugar and mom stirred and poured.
Not being profound at math, we thought we had enough strawberries for 12 jars.
We had to go buy more jars. It was a jamapolooza.
And I felt like Laura and Ma on Little House on the prairie putting up provisions for the winter. I felt industrious. And a little sticky.
And now I have some rows of jam pearly with frost in the freezer.
And every time I take a bite of toast with that valentine red jam slathered on top
I can't help wanting to break into a jam river dance and sing,
"Mommy makes good jam! Mommy makes good jam....with Grandma's help!"


4 c. ripe strawberries
3 c. granulated sugar
1 box Sure-Jell powdered pectin
3/4 c. water

Wash and hull the berries; crush them completely, a few at a time. (Should end up with 2 cups.) In large bowl, mix together the berries and sugar. Let stand 10 minutes. Combine pectin and water in saucepan. Bring to boil; boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir hot pectin into the fruit bowl; continue stirring. Don't worry if sugar is not completely dissolved. Ladle jam into freezer containers. Put lids on immediately. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours or until set. Refrigerate for a few weeks or freeze for up to a year.

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Rachel said...

Guess where I'm headed today? The strawberry field. Every year I pick my own berries and make a bizillion jars of freezer jam (along with a few fresh strawberry pies) because my kids are just like Erica's, they refuse to eat "store-bought" jam. Look out strawberries 'cause here I come!

Erica said...

One of the great things about living in Oregon! (One of many!)

Just Me,Pilgrim said...

Just this week I helped my mom pick fresh strawberries out of her garden, and she made this very recipe. It does make incredible jam! YUM!!!