Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My husband is AMAZING!

Last Thursday, Don came home from work with a flat of absolutely beautiful strawberries.  We have a local stand, and their berries are delicious.  For the past couple of years, I've bought between 2 and 6 flats of strawberries, and made jam from them.  Last year, I didn't make any, because in 2009, I made about 100 jars, and we didn't need any.

This year, however, we have been running low.  And I've not made any moves to fix the situation.  So, Don bought strawberries.  I told him that I wasn't ready to do that this weekend, and his reply was....."I know.  I'm going to do it this year."  This made me pause.  When Don and I met, he was not exactly, um....fluent...in kitchen skills.  Being a bachelor, he didn't really have to be.  And while he has come a long way, I was not quite sure that he was up to jam.  Was I ever wrong!
See how beautiful?
Friday morning, I went to the grocery store to buy sugar and pectin.  Saturday morning, we bought more strawberries, more sugar, and more pectin, as well as canning jar lids.  Then the work began in earnest.
Sorting and washing strawberries.

Hulling berries.

Mashing the berries, a cup at a time.
One of three containers of puree.
Let me say right here that Don had minimal help from me.  I kind of advised from the sidelines with advice like "Technically, you're supposed to do this, but I do it a different way."  Without exception, Don chose to do it the way you are supposed to, which is actually better.  I like to take shortcuts.

Sugar, measured and ready for the pot.

Maddie, watching and "supervising".

Cooking the puree and pectin.

Maddie, making sure that Dad is stirring properly.
I am really quite impressed.  Not only did he make the jam, he cleaned up as he went along, a fairly unfamiliar process in my kitchen.  Which was good, as I had scrubbed the kitchen thoroughly the day before.
Lids, sitting at the ready in boiling water.

Adding sugar to the pot.
The boiling stage is over.

Filling the jars.

The first jar, ready for the hot water canner.
Truly, the biggest contribution I made to the day was finding empty jars in the garage.  And I didn't need to do that, Don could've found them easily.

At the end of the weekend, we had 40 jars of jam for the shelf, plus one in the refrigerator.  It is soooo yummy!  The kids had fresh strawberry jam sandwiches all weekend! 

Now that I know that Don can, and is willing to make jam, the sky's the limit!  I wonder if he realizes that I'm hoping to go cherry picking this weekend????

See you soon!

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