Yes, time was something that I had a lot of as a teenager. Prior to getting my first job, I always wondered to myself what I should do after school and on the weekends. Should I hang out with friends, do homework, watch TV, plan out my next move on my crush? Should I write him more love notes and slip them in his locker? Oh, those were the days.
These days, I wonder to myself where I can find more time to do things I need to do. Long gone are the days when I wondered what I should do because I have so much free time. As an adult, I missed being a teenager sometimes. And at other times I don’t because I knew I’d have to depend on the adults (my parents) to support me.
Last week, one of my coworkers asked me how my husband and I find the time to make jam when we have a baby. The answer was a simple, “because she was sleeping.” Yes, Lily napped long enough for us to make jam.
My husband and I have been talking, thinking, I guess you can call scheming to make jam for awhile now. It started last year when I was about six months pregnant, we made blueberry jam together (for the first time!) a couple of weeks before Christmas and we gave them away to family and friends. It was such success so we decided to do it again this year for Christmas gifts. Now, with baby in tow, we have to be a little more creative with our time. Believe me, when you really want to make jam, you make time to make jam.
Our jam-making sessions is just another way for us to spend time together as a couple. We sometimes manage to go out on a mini-date every month, but most of the time we spend together at home. This year we started with blueberry jam. The inspiration came from a blog called Food in Jars, which I discovered last year after my husband and I started talking about our interest in canning and pickling stuff. I got her book right away and it has become a staple on our bookcase for any jam-making needs. I highly recommend it. (And for the record, I usually don’t endorse books online, and Marisa has no idea who I am and doesn’t know that I bought her book, but I really like it 🙂 Hopefully she will know in the future).
Of course this year our blueberry jam turned out a little bit different. It was a little too sweet in my opinion. My husband begged to differ. He thought it tasted fine. Later in, I discovered that we had used too much pectin, a main ingredient in making jam. Needless to say, we are still learning…and there will be more making-jam-while-the-baby-is-sleeping sessions in the future.
If you’re new to jam-making, I’d recommend checking out Marisa’s book or her web site here. She has some really good tips, as well as the recipe for blueberry jam. Be prepared to spend a lot of time at first, waiting for the water to boil and figuring out at which point in time to do what. We’ve found that having all the ingredients ready prior to starting the water bath is helpful. That means smashing the blueberries, chopping things up, zesting the lemon, etc. That also means having all your tools ready as well. You only need a few basic tools, but a canning pot is a must. Marissa says that having a non-reactive pot helps reduce the possibility of having a metallic flavor in your jam. Other items you’ll need is a rack to put inside the pot, a saucepan, a funnel and jar lifter–this will help make the process a little less messy….happy jamming!