This morning found me in the kitchen preparing to make strawberry jam, one of my favorite things to do in the springtime. A trip under the house yielded enough quart jars for my needs.
Every jam making session starts the same way- a sinkfull of hot, soapy water so that I will have sparkling clean jars; a clean counter top; a pot of hot water for lids and rings and the canner on the boil for processing; the big enamel pot ready for mashing fruit and the Dutch oven waiting on the stove to cook the jam; a colander for washing the fruit and my little paring knife laid out ready to lop off the tops of the berries.
I love the process of jam-making. Preparing the fruit for cooking, measuring out the sugar, watching for the boil, readying the jars and ladling the hot jam into them. A rhythm develops quickly and the entire morning becomes a dance of swirls and dips.
I have used this spoon to stir my jam for many, many years. It was a gift from my friend, Cilla. She found it in a kitchen shop in Ipswich, England, not far from her parent's house. I love this spoon. It has a little peg that prevents it from falling into large pots, and is flat on the bottom so as to gather the jam up from the bottom in a quick sweep. Don't you think I need a nice wooden ladle to go with my spoon?
After spooning off the foam, I ladled the jam into the jars using this jelly funnel. I found it at an estate sale. It is made of porcelain and is the lovliest creamy white color. I can only imagine how many gallons of jam or jelly were poured through its opening. I hope it is happy with me using it now.
(I don't know about you, but I think the foam is the best part of jam-making! I always make toast, spread it with Irish butter and spoon on the foamy bits. A little treat for the cook!)I succeeded in making six quarts of ruby-colored jam, plus two half-pints for gifts. I am always a bit impatient when it comes to letting it set, so I made sure to put some in the refrigerator in a bowl so I can have some tonight.
I believe that I can sum up my morning's work in one word- Bliss. Strawberry bliss.
Okay, that's two words.