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Pure Vanity in a Jar (and why you should have it too…)

May 17, 2012

It has happened. That first of the year. Depending on where you live and how you live, this could be any possibility of firsts. Ours, here, today…is the first strawberry jam. I knew when Janet’s name came up on my cell phone that it might, it just might have to do with strawberries in her backyard. And I knew, I just knew she just might want someone to share the promise of summer with. After picking our first bit of strawberries that are just starting to turn an inviting shade of rogue on the tender vine, I did what any other self-respecting person might do in that instance…made one tiny little batch of summer! One itsy bitsy little pint of strawberry jam. This may be pure vanity to those who wait till berries have all come and gone and then delve into their freezers to spend a whole day making 50 pints of jam…but when you sit down with your own beautiful little jar, all the vanity in the world is not enough to stop you from being utterly smug at yourself for figuring out how to bottle summer before it is even here. Magic. 

Speaking of magic, it truly is culinary magic how easy many jams are to make. Jam (and jelly) comes together because of something called pectin. Well, the magic of it is that often berries have enough natural pectin not to have to add any extra to get them to gel. What this means is that anybody, at anytime can whip themselves up a batch of beautiful vanity in a jar. Simply have on hand some fresh strawberries, a quarter of a lemon, and some sugar (preferably raw).

{ A Personal Batch of Strawberry Jam }

(aka…Pure Vanity in a Jar)


6 (or so) cups of fresh strawberries (appx 2 pints)

1 quater wedge of lemon

1-2 cups of sugar

(that’s really it!)

Rinse berries. Hull them and either leave whole (my preference), or cut in half, or slice.

Pour into a nonmetallic bowl, and mix gently with 1-2 cups of sugar and lemon juice from wedge.

♥Let sit to macerate on the counter for 1-2 hours.

Put berries, which will now have released a lot of their juices, in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat.

Bring to a slow, simmering boil for 20-25 minutes, being careful not to burn the berries.

Put a small plate in the freezer. When the plate is cold, put a small teaspoon of your jam on the plate and set back in the freezer. You’re testing for gelling. Wait 1-2 minutes, and remove your test plate. Push the jam with your finger a little bit. If it stands up and, well, is gelled, you’ve done it! If it’s still a bit runny, cook for another 5 minutes or so and test again.

Pour your liquid gold into a pretty little jar that fits its contents (or at least close enough–you can lick up extras or leave space in your jar) and keep in the fridge. No need to seal it! You’ll be eating it soon!

Now here’s the really important part. Get a really good piece of bread. Toast it. Slather it with butter (don’t go easy here, you’ll only do this for the first taste of jam). Slather your dripping piece of buttered toast with your fresh, warm jam. Sit down with someone you love, a..n…d…Enjoy. Sit long enough in silence to be completely satisfied, completely filled, completely overwhelmed by every smoldering taste bud. Enjoy some more.

Now here’s the really difficult part. Try not to eat it all in one sitting (or one day!) and try not to use butter next time…that was only for a special occasion.



One Comment leave one →
  1. debhosaflook permalink
    May 20, 2012 10:28 pm

    Oh my goodness, it is 10:20 at night, and all I want to do now is run out to the garden, pick some more strawberries and make some jam. Then toast a piece of my bread adnd have a midnight snack:) Thanks for giving me that tasty little vision of perfection!!!

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