“When life gives you strawberries, make jam.”
I’m back, y’all! I know it’s been a while, but I have legitimate excuses: life has been CRAZY!
I completed my junior year of college with the most insane final exam schedule I’ve ever encountered. I turned 21 – whoa. My boyfriend graduated with his master’s degree in accountancy from Wake Forest University, and I moved back home for the summer. Things are nuts, but I love it.
Honestly, if we weren’t busy, life would be boring. I say way too often, “My favorite thing in the world is having nowhere to be.” I resent myself for having that attitude, because it’s totally and completely false. Having places to be, things to see, and people to meet is a BLESSING. It means you are DOING something with your life. It’s so easy to take for granted our busy schedules. If you’re anything like me, “I don’t have time” has become an automatic response to nearly every question or suggestion. At the end of the day, we don’t know how much time we really do have. Stop, breathe, and think. Do what you can with today that you may not be able to do tomorrow.
“It’s really simple actually; just try and make people happy.”
If you’re wondering where all of this has come from, watch this video. You could also make jam, which will make you and any recipients very, very happy.
“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” – James 4:14
Here’s what you’ll need:
8-10 cups of fresh (or frozen) whole strawberries
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
Juice from half a lemon
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Bring all of the ingredients to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
I actually used a mixture of freshly picked berries and frozen berries. Don’t fear frozen – they’re just as tasty and nutritious as the non-frozen ones.
I know this seems like a lot of sugar, but keep in mind you’re only going to be eating a small amount of jam at one time.
Lemon juice enhances the flavor of the berries and vanilla is my special secret ingredient!
Once the strawberries have broken down a bit, use a potato masher to crush the berries into smaller pieces. You can leave larger chunks of strawberries for a more textured jam, or you can completely break down all of the berries for a smoother jam – it’s up to you!
Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the mixture is very thick. I like to put a spoonful of jam into a bowl and let it come to room temperature. If the jam is thick and spreadable, it’s ready.
Remove the jam from the heat and transfer to a jar, then refrigerate once cooled. This recipe yields about 2 1/2 cups of delicious jam.
This jam is delicious on just about anything. I especially love it smeared over a toasted slice of homemade bread for breakfast with my tea.
I must warn you before you try this out in your own kitchen: Don’t wear a nice dress while making this stuff. It tends to be a little messy, and your stove may or may not end up looking like a murder scene.
And for those of you who were wondering, all the berry stains came out of my dress. Thank goodness.
As always, have fun in your kitchen, be creative, and make other people happy.