Thursday, July 28, 2011

Waste Not, Want Not

So, back in May my friend Shanna told me about a Christmas in July show she was doing at the Micro VFD to help raise money for the ladies auxiliary. At first I thought it really wasn't something I could participate in. We wouldn't have anything in season then and what was I going to do, stand around and hand out corn maze stuff? Who was going to be thinking about October in July (other than myself)? But then I got to thinking...why not sell some jam?

Many of you ask what we do with the strawberries/blueberries we don't sell. Well, I'll tell you. About 99% of them go to our favorite dairy in the whole world Maple View Farm so they can make ice cream. If you've never had any of their ice cream you are missing a treat. Any time you are on 40 going west and come across exit 263 (New Hope Road exit) take it (turn left, go straight through the 4 way stop, then straight until you come to Rocky Ridge Rd and turn left, the shops at the end of the road). It's totally worth it, trust me, anyone who knows me knows I know good food. I can't even eat normal ice cream anymore I'm so spoiled. They have umpteen flavors but I always get the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (creature of habit) much to Chris's chagrin 'cause he's always got these great new flavors but I never try them. But this blog isn't about ice cream perfection, it's about jam.

Moving on. The other 1% or so I freeze and make jam out of to sell at The Stand. So I thought, hey, I have plenty of frozen berries, why not make some jam and sell it. I can give out flyers and coupons and promote the farm and maybe, just maybe someone will remember us and come out this fall to the maze. Can't hurt right?

Saturday I decided was Jam Day. Now, I've never made jam before. Last spring my mama made it, but this year I decided to tackle it myself. I got a late start (not a morning person remember) due to lack of motivation and the Wal-mart trip. I bought jars upon jars, like 10 boxes of Sure Jell and a 25 lb bag of sugar. I decided since the strawberries were still rock hard to start with the blueberries. I opened the package of pectin and skimmed the directions. Then I mashed up my berries and put them in a pot. Well, the pot wasn't big enough for berries and sugar so I poured the sugar in a larger pot and poured the mashed berries on top. Then I read the directions more thoroughly. Yeah, I was supposed to cook the fruit and pectin, and then add sugar. Luckily the fruit was so thick, it never mixed with the sugar so I was able to scrape it off and put it back in the smaller pot to cook. As mentioned before the fruit was thick and the pot was small. When it started cooking it didn't boil like liquid, it was like when you make cooked grits. the bubbles came up through the thick mixture and popped, sending blueberry places I never had blueberry before. I have a burn on my hand from molten blueberry lava and there is a spot on my ceiling. Yes. My ceiling. Oh yeah, and did I mention that I don't even like blueberries or strawberries or jam/jelly of any kind.
See, I'm not kidding

Anyway, so I cooked it and put it in the jars and got them canned, four jars at a time (it took forever). Luckily, they all set and sealed. So all in all, other than the burn it wasn't so bad. The next batches were a lot easier too, since I knew better what I was doing. I'm one of those people who try to find the most efficient way to do something. I try to eliminate as many steps as possible. So once I had my process down pat it was really a piece of cake.

So come by Micro VFD this Saturday for the Christmas in July show. There are a lot of vendors going to be there as well as food. I'll be there with my jams and the honey left from this spring and coupons and flyers. Come support a good cause and have a good time with us!

Jam Deliciousness

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