Once upon a time there was a delusional woman who thought she could make freezer jam. Seemed simple enough. Strawberries, pectin, sugar, cook it up and put it in cute little canning jars and freeze. Yup, even she could do it.
So she went and picked strawberries….who knew that you have to be there EARLY in the day and that you are to bring your own containers…these things should be in the newspaper ads (this was before Al Gore invented the internet and we used to have these things called “newspapers”….can you say….. news…paper….good job) so those of us that had never picked before could come prepared….not everyone knows these kind of things, you know.
Picking strawberries seems like such an idyllic endeavor; there you are in your bonnet and strawberry-picking basket and the birds are trilling away and you are feeling like Ma Ingalls….but in reality, you are all bent over and mosquitoes are buzzing around your face and biting you everywhere they can find your pink flesh and gnats are getting into your eyes and ears and you are cursing Ma and the strawberry farm….there ought to be WARNING signs up so you know what you will be facing.
After a horrific 20 minutes you check your berry basket to find that you have picked a grand total of 43 strawberries and you decide to say the devil with picking your own and head off to check out and buy the stupid berries.
Having never bought fresh strawberries before, there is a bit of sticker shock at the price of one flat of berries. But hubby will be so pleased at having homemade strawberry jelly that certainly spending half of that week’s food budget won’t bother him once he bites into a piece of freshly baked bread (another delusion) slathered with strawberry jam made by his wife’s tiny hands (delusion…they are like tiny stuffed sausages stuck on ham hocks).
So she drives the 50 miles back home and gathers all her supplies and reads the directions for Easy Strawberry Freezer Jam (liars). One must sterilize the canning jars before beginning (are they neutered or spayed?) So she loads them up in her giant canning pot and cooks the hell out of them and then gingerly lays them upside down on an equally sterile dish towel. Now to de-stem the ruby-red jewels that lay helter-skelter in the wooden flat. After all that work, now they need to be rinsed off and chopped up. The little woman decides that this is a one-time deal and old hubby better damn well bow down and kiss her feet (or at least rub them) for doing all this work for some stupid jam.
When the woman was gathering her supplies, she grabbed the Tupperware container that held the sugar and proceeded to pour in the correct amount into the berries and the pectin and cooked them all up into a mouth-watering thick confection of strawberry gooeyness.
Next, she ladled the mixture into her sterile little jars and sealed them tight and was delighted to hear the little “pops” of the tops sealing. She felt so proud of herself as she looked over the dozens of little jars, all popping away. Oh, her husband would be so proud of her and even though she would never speak of it, she was kinda proud of herself.
The next day, she put all those precious, ten dollars a half pint, jars of jam into the freezer to await a special occasion when she could bring one out and exclaim, “Why, yes, I did make the jam myself”!
A few days later, her nephew was visiting for dinner and it was time to bring out a jar of jelly. Every one was seated and grace was said and the woman heaped jelly onto a hot bun and took a big bite just as her nephew was doing the same…..but instead of a mouthful of delectable sweetness, it was poisoned and the woman screamed to her nephew, as he was just opening his mouth to take a bite, “Don’t eat that!!! It’s poisoned!” (She just knew if she canned she would end of giving her family botulism because her mother always warned her of the dangers of home canning and dang, if she hadn’t almost killed her nephew!!!!)
All that beautiful and expensive jam had to be thrown away because as she figured out days later, she had accidentally grabbed her husband’s CANNING SALT instead of sugar.
Moral of this story…..label your Tupperware.