Monday, June 24, 2013

Homemaking on the ranch (or in this case a suburban condo)

Even my mother has made careful note that I have been born outside of my century. She often discusses that she is unsure where my homemaker gene comes from, more specifically the kitchen gene. Mom does not do much in the kitchen other than warm microwave meals. She hates cooking. She tolerates baking and somehow her daughter could live in the kitchen carefully crafting homemade meals and goodies all day.

The summer is about taking advantage of what is available. Nearly every fruit and vegetable is widely accessible freshly straight from the farm. Our 855 square foot condo does not offer garden space (surprising). The best I can do is visit the many farmers markets, join CSA’s or hope that a nearby neighbor will sit out fresh offerings for free (it happens all the time).

Looking over the pantry this weekend, I noticed the absence of jam. I love toast, waffles, and muffins. Many folks would be happy with a jar of store bought jelly but my last purchased jar yielded no identifiable fruit and within 2 weeks, I had a jar of sugar. The first ingredient in jam should be fruit, not sugar, fructose or fruit flavoring. Surprisingly, jam is easier to make than many people think. It involves few simple ingredients but it does test the patience of any kitchen cook.

I picked up a pint of fresh strawberries from a nearby farm on Saturday morning. By late Sunday morning we had fresh strawberry/ ginger jam. I tossed my Smuckers jar in the trash. Jam, from berry to canning stage takes less than an hour and it is worth the careful attention to detail (stirring...stirring...stirring).

Chopping strawberries for jam-5 minutes

Boiling fruit and sugar for 10-15 minutes
 I’d like to think if I lived on an Alaskan homestead I could prepare adequately for winter. I could make jam, sauces and other canned goods without fail. I could “process” chickens. Unfortunately, there is no need for me to do this for the condo except when I refuse to have too much over processed food in the cupboards. I do not fret about winter because our streets are plowed. I have no room for a chicken coop. However, should the apocalypse come, I am sure, we will be well prepared. Let us eat jam.

Finished product: Jam

1 comment:

  1. I've been waiting for you to put a cooking project up here. I know you can't share your personal recipes but... could you put the ratio of fruit to sugar? I need to learn! I think there is a blog named "Pioneer Woman" or something like that. You could call yours "Born a Century Late" and talk about all your kitchen adventures.