Just A Spoonful of Sugar or Is It?

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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.

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About thelumberjackandthegypsy

The lumberjack is my husband and he owns Arrowhead Wood Products; Arrowhead Toboggan and Snowshoe; and Lake Superior Furniture Co. and is the exclusive manufacturer of wood shutters for Summit Hill Shutter Co. The gypsy is me, and I have a passion for teaching people to tap into their creative side, even when they think they don't have one! I did not grow up creative or artsy and I was in my thirties before I started sewing and creating things. I am a rug hooker; artisan teddy bear maker; painter (from pictures to large pieces of furniture!); knitter; doll maker; needle-felter, repurposer; sewer; decorator; blogger; glamper; reader; vintage jewelry maker; junker; and now a shop owner. But the lumberjack and I feel our greatest gifts in this world are our four grandkids and our daughter and her husband and our relationship with Jesus Christ. We have been married for more than 33 years and most of that time we have lived out in the country on a hobby farm where we have raised chickens, turkeys, ducks, goats, pigs and beef cattle. We also homeschooled our only child for her entire school years. We lived out our dream of being like the The Little House on the Prairie and they were great times. I also have a personal blog: rantingsofamadqueen.wordpress.com where I tell stories of what life on the farm has been like and other things that pop up in my very weird mind. I prefer "quirky or eccentric" instead of weird (sounds more fascinating and less creepy)!

2 responses »

  1. Thank you so much. I have been considering making home made jam, as we go through so much of it. I will now reconsider my stance on the benefits of making it myself. 🙂 I made a few jars of Golden Syrup just before Christmas last year, and ended up scalding the skin off of my thumb. It still hasn’t fully recovered. This home baking lark needs safety warnings. 😀

    • Hah! We thought Y2K was really going to happen so I canned quarts and quarts of applesauce, peaches, nectarines, green beans, bought water filtration systems so we could drink our pond water, cases of toilet paper, can goods and pounds and pounds of wheat berries and rye berries (and we got two hand grinders to grind the berries into flour) and dried beans by the 5 gallon pails full. My survival days are over…..if Zombies attack or North Korea bombs us….I will be standing outside with a drink in my hand watching the impeding doom with nary an extra roll of toilet paper or a canned jar in sight.

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