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I made my own jam!

July 7, 2011
tags: ,

It’s true!

First, let’s talk about jam v. jelly v. preserves. I didn’t exactly know the difference, but post-Google research, I can now tell you that the variation seems to lie in which form the fruit comes: a jam has crushed fruit or fruit pulp, a jelly has fruit juice, and preserves have pieces of fruit in a syrup or jelly. So, I made strawberry jam.

I don’t know about you, but because homemade jam seems to be a rarity these days, I thought it took a lot of work and time. I probably shouldn’t tell you this just in case I ever bring you homemade jam as a present and want you to be impressed, but — it doesn’t, y’all. All you need is fruit (I used strawberries), sugar, lemon juice, and salt. That’s it. Easy peasy.

I present you with homemade strawberry jam:

3 pounds of strawberries, sliced (equal to 3 of the normal-sized containers)
3 cups of granulated sugar
juice of one lemon
pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a big pot and cook over high heat for around 18-25 minutes. Stir every now and then to dissolve sugar and crush berries. When mixture becomes thick, spoon into jars and let cool. The jam will stay fresh for up to a month.

You could use less sugar, I’m sure. The jam turns out pretty sweet, which is different for me because I’m the type of girl who usually tries to buy the less sugar added version of things. You can also use fresh or frozen fruit, but when I went to the grocery store, it was cheaper to buy fresh berries since they’re in season. The original recipe I found was for blueberries, so you can use those or any type of berry. Also, it’s better if you slice the strawberries into small pieces because I didn’t do this enough and ended up trying to use a potato masher to crush the fruit more when it was already cooking.

It’s been a while since I talked about the tornado on here, so I wanted to do that. I visited Tuscaloosa a couple of weekends ago for the first time in months. As I drove closer to the damage, I nearly laughed because I was so disoriented. The buildings I had been accustomed to using as landmarks were gone, and I kept second-guessing myself – “Is there where I’m supposed to turn?” “Is this 15th Street, whaaat?” How strange.

I woke up early the morning after I drove up and spent some time alone out on Drew’s apartment balcony, looking out on was left:

I’m not glad that the tornado happened, but I am happy for the good that has and that will continue to come because of it. People of all different backgrounds have been brought closer and I think that Tuscaloosa will be a better, stronger place. Of course I still have bad and weak moments, but in general, I feel as though I am saying a constant prayer of gratitude for all the ways in which I am so incredibly fortunate. I understand more what is important. The tornado woke me up from ungratefulness and passivity, and for that, I am grateful.

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