Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Battle to Conquer the Kitchen

I love raspberry jam.  It's SO good.  Growing up, my mother would make it.  MMMM  Yeah, it really is that good.  I don't mind freezer jam, but the real "I was cooked" kind of jam totally rocks my knee-highs.  About 2 years ago, I made jam for the first time with Mom.  She has skills.  It was SO much easier than I ever thought it would be.

Well... Saturday, I'm going up to spend Christmas-ish time with Scuttle and his family.  I'm meeting his parents for the first time.  Ok, we Skype'd once, but that doesn't really count to me.  I was trying to figure out if I should get something for Scuttle's parents and siblings, and I just wasn't sure.  Then the thought came to me: Jam.  I can make jam.  That's something you make for your neighbors, so it's nothing too big.  Just something nice to say, "Hey, I thought of you, but this is non-committal so if you didn't think of me, you don't have to feel bad at all, but if you did think of me, now I don't have to feel bad".  (Who knew one jar of jam could say so much?)

I got my supplies, and decided today was the day.  I'm making jam.  I called Laree, got a little bit of advice, (Mom didn't answer her phone.) and started!  So, here's the deal.  I have issues.  I filched the raspberries from my parent's house.  As they thawed, all of the juice came out.  Really, almost all of it.  But, I figured that out.  I just added a lot of the juice back in when I put the berries in the blender... We don't have a blender.  But L7 said something about a blender... OH!  Smoothie maker.  That should do.  Whew.  One problem averted.  I measured out the sugar, and then measured out the berries... and I had too many.  Good news, I bought two boxes of Pectin, so I could do extra.  Let's one and a half the recipe.  But how do I know how much pectin to use?  Oh, I got it.  I measured how much pectin was in one box.  Then just halved that.  I'm brilliant!

Because I know raspberry juice stains, I put on a grubby shirt, pulled all of my pre-measured bowls close (it was like I was on a cooking show) turned up the tunes and got to cooking!  Oh, and pulled out all of my freshly washed and sanitized jars.  I was SO ready!

I turned on the burner, and started stirring.  And stirring.  And stirring.  My arms were aching, but I persisted. And then it started to boil.  And splatter.  But the directions said you had to wait for a "rolling boil".  I don't really know what that means, but I kept going.  A lot of dancing ensued as I tried to dodge all of the splatters.  Luckily, I was home alone, because anyone here would have heard me.  "Oh no!  That's a big one!  OH MAN THAT ONE HURT!  OW! OW! OH DEAR!  This is no fun.  BLAST! There's another one!  Get it off, it hurts, it hurts!"  You know, little things like that.  All I can think at this point is how in the world does Mom do this so gracefully?

I quickly added the sugar, the jam turned the right color (that's a good sign) and I stirred some more.  Let me give all of you some advice.  Don't one and a half a batch of jam, cause you will be stirring for ETERNITY!  After the "rolling boil" came back I had to stir it for exactly 4 minutes.  Once again, I started the splatter dance.  Good gravy!  No good.  And no matter where I went, my arms weren't long enough to avoid it.

OK, 4 minutes up.  Now to pour the jam into the bottles.  OH BLAST! I don't have a funnel.  Ok, bust out my mad pouring skills... where's the ladle... I don't have a ladle!  Alright, this half cup measuring cup will have to do.  Mad scooping, trying to put on the lids that I had in boiling hot water, more yelping of the burning pains cause I'm dealing with more hot stuff, flipping the jars upside down, more burning.... and DONE!

OHHH no!  Too much jam.  I don't have any more bottles.... uh... uh... well, there's a Pyrex baking dish... i guess I could put it all in there.... NO, no, that's a bad idea... uh... OH, there we go!  The remains went into the can that held the sugar.  I now have about 1/3 of a large can full of jam... that's going to take up a lot of room in the fridge... sorry roomies!

Now, lets look at my kitchen... I totally should have taken a picture.  I have a dirty blender, 2 massive dirty pots, and splatters.... ALL over the stove, all over the bread that is next to the stove, all over the cupboards around the stove, all over the floor, and my socks.  That jam has some mad splatter skills.  I think that one made it at least 4 ft!  I should enter this stuff in an Olympic event!  Do you think if I lobby enough I can get them to add in a Jam Splattering competition?  It's close to the trampoline... right?

I'm not too worse for the wear.  I probably have about 10 new burns on my hands.  But the good news is, I totally did it.  The jam is setting up.  And it tastes good.  Look out Martha Stewart.  I am SO coming for you.  And I think my show would be more fun.  You don't do the splatter dance nearly enough.


Grandma Nelson said...

I wonder if it would have been as much fun to watch you as it was to read about it. Now you understand why I went to mostly freezer jam much less painful. by the way, for next time long hotpad mitts and long sleeves help. Go daughter!

Leann Nelson said...

I wish I could have been there to see the splatter dance, but you are way above me in your domestic skills! Way to be girl!!

Laree said...

I am so glad you posted this! You rock MY knee-highs!

Sarah said...

This made me happy!!! My favorite part: About all that a jar of jam can say!

Hope things were good at Scuttles parents house!

Love ya!

Happy Mom said...

The comment from Sarah was totally from me! She apparently didn't log out and I didn't realize that I was logged in under her!