Have you ever made jam?
I think it's on the intimidating end of the cooking spectrum. Canning seems complicated. Boiling water seems...hot.
But when a close friend invited me to spend Mother's Day (our moms are both waaaay outta town) whipping up a batch of strawberry jam, it seemed like the perfect excuse to learn something. Strength in numbers!
It's a simple enough process: mash the heck out of some fruit, add it to lemon juice, zest, and sugar, and boil boil boil. We were avoiding pectin because of the premise that it's made from animal products (Katie is a vegetarian), but we found out that it's actually made from apples. I think it would have helped the jam jell up a bit. And I'll just say that we have some learning to do still when it comes to the canning process. All in all, though, it was a great, fun, and ultimately tasty way to spend an afternoon.
Here and here are two strawberry jam recipes that look tasty. I found them using tastespotting (a stunning site chock-full of food photography.) And Tracy Shutterbean's wrap-up of the jam making class she went to provides great visuals for the entire process.
More photos after the jump...
(In case you're wonder why that jam isn't strawberry red, it's because we made a small batch of apricot too :))