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Homemade Preserves - First Attempt

Updated on April 25, 2014
Handpicked - I have the hands to prove it.
Handpicked - I have the hands to prove it. | Source

Strawberry Picking

Hands are red, blood-like-red and I'm supposed to be having fun............ Whose idea was this anyway?????? Well, actually it was mine.

I wanted to pick strawberries so I could make homemade jam and preserves, freezing them for later use. Yes, you can freeze strawberries. Wash them, hull them, and place them flat on a baking sheet in the freezer. When they are frozen just take them off the tray and pop into a freezer bag.

I was out there for over two hours picking strawberries thinking of all the fun things I could make with them - really. Then I got tired, very tired, and very hungry. The first thing when I did when I arrived home was to eat a very large and yummy cheeseburger with a strawberry milkshake - homemade of course :)

Actually, after looking at my fingers from picking and hulling the strawberries it looked like a murder had been committed. Why on earth would anyone go this trouble to make strawberry, or any other, jam when it can be bought at the store? Good question.

RealFruit™ Pectin i used.
RealFruit™ Pectin i used. | Source

To make the jam I used real fruit preserving pectin by Ball. Great stuff

I have this burning desire, thought, stubbornness, craziness…. to be independent and know that I can “do it myself.” I’d already made dill pickles and salsa (recipes coming soon) and I was on a roll, even though it was 9:30 at night, I was tired, but I wanted to (stubborn, crazy….) I also knew better. “…But it will only take 30 minutes…” I reasoned to myself as I cut the strawberries into small pieces, measured the sugar, and poured in the Ball instant pectin. WOW, what a delightful smell – I had mixed it up per the directions, put it in the jar and I was shaking the jar to mix it up properly.

My hands were wet, and so was the jar but I had a good firm grip on “my” homemade strawberry jam. Hubby, Mr. Cooki came into the kitchen to empty the trash can, which was rather overflowing thanks to me! I thought he was going to say something about the trash being full (feeling just a little guilty here….) so I was ready with my comeback, furiously shaking the jar of fresh made strawberry jam, with my wet hands on a wet jar. All the flavors are blending and mixing up into this scrumptious sweet tasting strawberry jam. When suddenly, …CRASH! All over the kitchen floor, my washed-that-day kitchen floor was now splattered with my fresh homemade strawberry jam. It was EVERYWHERE and included the glass from the jar that I was shaking. This looked like another crime scene. That was my comeback to a non-existent comment from Mr. Cooki. Mr. Cooki just looked and asked me very quietly, “what happened?”

He told me not to move and quietly swept up the mess then he mopped the floor for me, then he laughed. He told me I was more concerned with what he was doing than paying attention to my shaking……. Humph ;)Yes, I was actually tempted to make it again, only this time it was 10:30 p.m. I didn't, I went to bed and slept hard.The jam was made the next morning and tasted scrummy! Click here to read more

Yes, I can buy jam, pickles...

salsa, and anything I want from the store, so why on earth make it from scratch?

...Well, because I can :)

Probably not a very scientific or logical answer, but it's my answer. Wanting to be independent is a good reason to make anything myself. What if the store ran out of food due to a hurricane, or some such thing (sorry, not intending to be pessimistic here), but I like to know I can still feed family members. Plus, think about all the preservatives, fat, and sugar in store bought food - drat - there goes the oreo's...


Pickles Anyone?

I did make some pickles as we have an abundance of cucumbers from our garden, thanks to Mr. Hubby.

The recipe on the packet recommends waiting three weeks before eating and to store for only three months in the refrigerator. Mine are in the three week waiting stage and i'll update when I've tasted them. It was easy to do though.

update: yes, they were good. Crispy and fresh tasting.

A Little Salsa is Good ...


Hot Hot

The Salsa had me boiling and soaking tomatoes, then chopping them. I don't know if it was worth it. Hubby said the salsa had a bite to it - oh, boy did it. Of course that depends on personal taste. I Used extra veggies from the garden to add to the mixture, making it extra yummy.

You Can Do It.

When I look at the long term - having items in my pantry from food that I have grown, it's a very satisfying feeling.

If we know how to make items from scratch, whether it is food, clothes, furniture, or whatever you want, we will remain independent and can survive and overcome any situation that may arise.

Do you prefer to buy or make your own food.

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    • BJC profile image

      BJC 5 years ago from Florida

      Your childhood actually sounds like it was fun! We so live in a different age - I, too, learned to make cakes from scratch using a wooden spoon..... Maybe one reason people don't learn how to the basics is because of the vast number of food places out there to buy from with food already made.

      The jam was good but I'm going to have to practice more :)

      thanks for reading and commenting!!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 5 years ago from North Texas

      I grew up on a small farm and my mother always had a garden that was about an acre or two in size including strawberries and every vegetable you can imagine. In addition to the garden there was a huge field of raspberry bushes and asparagus grew up and down our country road and that required picking every other day until it went to seed.

      Canning, freezing, pickling, and jam and jelly making was a regular thing in the summer. It was like a small factory from early June when the strawberries started ripening. Everybody pitched in and still my mother probably got only 3-4 hours of sleep herself. Gardening and preserving food for a large family with a huge garden is a lot of work.

      My mother always made half a dozen loaves of bread every week too, so long as most of us kids were still at home. Cakes were from scratch. I was making chiffon cakes and cookies, brownies, and the main meals entirely from when I was 11 years old. Started sewing at 14 and in high-school made most of my own clothes. Learned to embroider at age 7. Most of my sibs learned when they were 4-5, so I was slow getting started.

      I'm still amazed when people don't know how to do the simplest things. My daughter is so smart about computers and writing and so many things, but boiling water for Ramen noodles is the best she can do with cooking. She started learning to sew on my machine at age 7, but she hated it, so she's never followed through. I have 2 nieces who are almost my own age, and they don't know the first thing about cooking either.

      The world is certainly changing. Used to be everyone knew how to cook and sew and do so many different things, but now it's become a specialty and being dependent on someone else for things.

      Interesting hub. Hope the strawberry jam came out like you wanted . . .

    • BJC profile image

      BJC 5 years ago from Florida

      Thank you Moonlake, I do enjoy it, especially knowing I've grown it myself, but time is a huge factor.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      I love homemade but there is only two of us. I freeze more than can. I hate picking strawberries. I enjoyed your hub and voted up.

    • BJC profile image

      BJC 5 years ago from Florida

      greeneryday, you will enjoy making your own - good luck and keep me posted.

      Dave Mathews, thanks for the comment - take care.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      I too love making my own when the season is ready for it.

    • greeneryday profile image

      greeneryday 5 years ago from Some tropical country

      I thinking of growing vegetables in the backyard myself... thanks for a reminder... I like this hub a lot...

    • BJC profile image

      BJC 5 years ago from Florida

      Hi, Nell, perhaps you could have some small plants on your balcony? Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I actually have these wild ideas of living off the land - don't ask why I don't really know:)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, I used to have a garden and grew all my own veg, not so much fruit though, and it was great, it gave me a great deal of satisfaction knowing that I hadn't bought it! but now I have a balcony so I don't do it, but I must admit that I would prefer too, nell

    • profile image

      Christine wilson 5 years ago

      home made is always best no other way to do it

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Interesting hub. We prefer home made to store bought in general. However, there are certain items we continue to buy because it is easier than to make on your own. Good post and filled with helpful advice.