Between the sleepless nights with a newborn were ending, barbeques, family get-togethers, fireworks and fireflies...we had collected a freezer filled with perfectly ripened berries just waiting to be made into something delicious!
The second weekend in July, I had finally mustered enough determination and energy to make as much jam as I had supplies for. So, I went to the store, bought many bags of sugar and cases of quart, half-quart and 4 ounce jars.
Having only made Strawberry jam thus far, I looked up some recipes for the other berries we had collected. Especially the Thimbleberry and Black Raspberry. The Strawberry was fantastic, very chunky, how Steve likes it. During my research, I found people like their jam many different ways.
Armed with ideas, recipes and plenty of jamming supplies away I went! Thawing and smooshing berries with the help of my kitchen elf, Connor. Cookin them and adding just enough sugar and pectin to get a nice firm set. My kitchen island became an assembly line covered with sterilzied jars just waiting to be filled with hot jam.
To simplify things in a house with two young boys, I limited myself to making one batch of jam per day. That way, I had the stove for making dinner at night and each batch could sit undisturbed to cool and set.
My stove seemed to always be on, but in no time our pantry was filling with beautifully colored jars, containing flavors like Strawberry, Strawberry-thimbleberry, Black Raspberry, Raspberry blend, Blackberry and mixed berry. All this hard work was paying off! I was finally getting my freezer back...or so I thought. Just as I had finished making the last of these berries into jam, the blueberries were ripe for the picking.
Each batch is unique and seemed to get better and better. The Black Raspberry was a very small batch (short season) and it was "lick the bowl" wonderful.
A batch of blueberry jam didn't set. Have no fear! Chunky blueberry syrup anyone?
My next door neighbor has been my guinea pig testing all these different flavors. She never knows what I may drop off at her doorstep next. As we tested each batch, I would set jars aside for Christmas gifts. Before I knew it, each family member was getting at lest 3 different varieties of fruity goodness.
Between the months of July and November 2010, I made over 600 ounces of jam. All but 40 ounces of it was given away to friends and family. I kept a notebook that year and as I flipped through it looking at how many batches were made and how many berries Steve had picked, all the little voices whispering to me this year, came to a roar. Why not try to sell my jam?