I realize that canning is routine for most people, but I have always had a fear of it. After reading so many different articles and books on canning, I had this dread in the back of my head that somehow I'd do it wrong, and my whole family would wind up with a horrible case of food poisoning.
But, with the encouragement of my friends, and almost 3 hours worth of work (I'll explain that part in a minute..)
SUCCESS! Homemade strawberry jam!
Yes, I have that same "look what mine hands hath wrought" sort of feeling that I got the first time I made pudding from scratch (are you sensing a theme, here? It was a milestone moment of my cooking career...)
OK, so WHY THREE HOURS worth of work?
Well, my flat-top stove just doesn't like to co-operate with me, especially when the pans that I'm using are not suited for it. My mom had given me an old canning pot, and it took TWO HOURS to get the water to boil. TWO HOURS! That was incredibly frustrating. The actual work itself was much, much less than that.
In the long run, did I save any money? No, not really. By the time you factor in all the ingredients, I'd have to say each jar cost about $2. However, I went in to this for the learning experience and to be able to provide something homemade for my family. It is nice to know that with this particular batch of jam, I know everything that went into it and what sort of cleanliness standards were involved. That actually means quite a bit to me. Having worked in several food establishments, I know that -- even though the people I worked with were very conscientious -- there would have been nothing stopping me from touching the food with filthy hands (or doing something worse) if I had been the malicious sort. Sad, but really true.
On a completely different note, I just had to share these pictures!
On Saturday, I was greeted with screams of "there's a cicada killer in the house!" As you are probably aware, these are majorly big wasps. As I made my way into the kitchen, I found these brave folks ready to do battle with it:
Truth be told, however, they chickened out once they heard it buzzing rather ferociously in the bathroom (it was stuck behind the shower curtain) and yours truly had to finally finish it off.
Finally, in the "no good deed goes unpunished" category, poor Christopher tried to comfort his little sister (who had been having a rough afternoon) by reading to her, only to have this happen...
He was rather uncomfortable and had to be rescued so that he could get up and let Grace take a much-needed nap.