Wednesday, July 14, 2010
On the jam factory
It might also have to do with dietary concerns – our jam is always made from the freshest of berries, and with as little sugar as possible and no conservatives. It is probably as healthy as jam gets.
Finally, I think it once was a matter of price. My family has always been big in the jam department, and my dad in particular. The man loves his jam, and he eats more of it than anyone else I have ever known. Making your own jam instead of buying expensive premade in the store makes sense, then, or at least it did back when store jam was expensive and berries were cheap. These days, though, the homemade kind cost at least twice as much as the store-bought, and that isn’t even counting the work put into it.
Today we got the first batch of strawberries over with – about 12 liters of strawberry jam is now in the freezer, and about twice that amount, along with other types such as apple, blueberry and raspberry will join it by the end of the season.
Since we’re doing this every year, the production has become quite professional. First, one removes the leaves and wet patches and other undesirables. Then the berries are weighed, smashed and mixed together with the sugar and the thickener (we’ve tried without, but the “jam” only ends up as soup. We do avoid the ones with conservatives, though).
The second part of the process is all about storage. Since we use the freezer, the most convenient container is reused milk cartons that can be stacked. They are washed and dried, naturally, and then we cut them into the proper size (we have a template). Once the carton is filled it contains about half a liter of jam. Then they are sealed with tape, labeled with content and year, and we’re ready to fill the freezer.
It is hardly a super-fun activity, but spending the time with my family feels nice, and keeping up with traditions in another thing I like. Besides, the jam tastes much better than anything you find in the store.
And soon, blueberry season is upon us!