There are two women that I strive to be like. My grandma and my husband’s grandma, Betty and Jean. My grandma is 89 and still working in her garden, making jam, canning peaches, snapping beans and shucking corn. My husband’s grandma, Jean, is the most kind, welcoming and non-judgemental woman I know. She showers you with hugs and “atta’ girl!”‘s. My grandma, Betty, serves to show her love. When I was in college I received a massive package from my grandma full of dried fruit (my favorite.) When we were driving across the country we stopped in and spent the night with my grandparents and she sent me on down the road with several jars of freezer jam, knowing that my boys are picky and love that jam. When I was a child my grandparents would come visit for a week or two and she would deep clean our entire house, not a small task since my dad was divorced and he had 4 children at his house 24/7. After she deep cleaned the house, washed the windows, scrubbed the blinds, she would can and can and can plums. We had a massive plum tree in our backyard and we were sent out over and over to pick plums for her to make into jam so she could leave us supplied for the next year. When she wasn’t cleaning or canning she was teaching me cross stitch and embroidery, and showing my dad how to curl my hair without burning me. Grandma tried to instill as many good habits as she could in the amount of time she was there. We would come home from school, usually we’d throw down our backpacks and watch TV, she made us do our homework first, tidy our rooms and then go outside to play. I wish I understood the importance of her lessons then and applied them to my life.
One of my favorite things was to come home from school to find jars of strawberry freezer jam on the counter, my grandma still cleaning up the kitchen and planning dinner at the same time. One time as a young woman I made freezer jam and for some reason it didn’t occur to me to make it again over a decade later when a friend of mine brought homemade freezer jam and rolls over after my third son was born. Since then I’ve made strawberry freezer jam a staple in our diet and if you do it right it saves you TONS of money! If you garden or would like to, strawberries are perennials and will come back every year so that’s always a plus in the savings department. (Though newer plants produce more than older so after a few years you have to start rotating out the older plants to keep your yield up.) Or you can always buy berries on sale, which is what I currently do! Also, buy sugar on sale or in bulk. There are 3 ingredients for strawberry freezer jam.
Ok, I lied there are 4 ingredients, but sometimes I don’t count water as an ingredient.
You will find directions on the pectin packet and they are awesome, no fail directions so read them!
-Wash and cut the stem off the strawberries
-I like to cut up the berries before sending them to the blender, blend to the consistency you prefer.
-Measure 2 cups of blended strawberries, pour into large mixing bowl.
-Add 4 cups of sugar and stir.
-Let sit 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
– Combine pectin and water and bring to a boil.
-Add pectin to strawberry/sugar mixture and stir well.
-Pour into jam containers and let sit at room temperature until the jam sets up.
-Once jam is set, put in the freezer (or fridge if you plan to eat immediately.)
One thing I love about my grandmother is that she truly wastes not. This is one of the jam jars she sent along with me.
A small Prego sauce jar with a Smuckers jam lid! Another one I forgot to take a picture of was a Pace salsa jar with a Smuckers caramel lid! What a wonderful reminder to me that we don’t need to throw those jars and containers away, just reuse them, though I admit I’ll probably take the labels off mine.