My new thing today is making Jam. I've never made it before, and have always wanted to learn I suppose, always being jealous of those who go on about having 'made it over the weekend'. I decided on strawberry. It seems to be the most popular, looked easy, and who doesn't love strawberry jam? According to the recipe I needed x amount of strawberries. I calculated what I thought was the correct conversion for the units they're sold in here, only to find out after smashing 6 cups of hulled, washed and chopped strawberries that I was 2 cups short for my 8 cup recipe. I live in the middle of nowhere so I had to wait until the next day for more. Eventually, I got back to work.
The recipe looked daunting, even for someone who cooks a lot such as myself. Boil jars, keep warm until ready to fill with this strawberry jam mixture, and have something ready to go to boil the filled jars in. I don't own a canner or a stock pot. The only stock pot available in the town near me was 69.99, to which I said 'good day'. So, I used a deep pot to cook the mix in, and when the jars were filled I used the same pot to boil them in. I have a really deep, high sided wok which served as my sterilizer. I was really make-shifting it here.
I did not realize how messy this was going to be. I was fine with the discarded strawberry pieces, but it was the jam cooking that set the stage for a scrubbing mission from hell later on. It was easy enough to make the jam, pour in ingredients, stir, heat, cook. The recipe said 40 minutes...and at around the 50 mark I was getting a little worried. I did the plate test for gelling and at about 1 hour it was ready. It tasted good though, so I'm not overly worried. Now they sit on my kitchen table, cooling and waiting to be stored in the basement for future consumption.
Strawberry Jam - success.