My boyfriend has been practically begging me for weeks to make him a batch of homemade jam. He keeps dropping little hints, like putting post-its that read “fill me” on all of the jam jars in the refridgerator. The other day I was getting ready for work and say that he had hung a basket and a sunbonnet on the hook in my closet. He keeps sending me links to articles about canning and the benefits of making your own jam from scratch. He bookmarked the pick your own berry farm in my google maps. When I found the DVR full of Little House on the Prairie episodes, I decided it was time I did something about this behavior. Saturday just happenned to be a beautiful day, although it was sunnier than I expected and I ended up getting a little color. I drove all the way up to Moorpark, CA and the Underwood Family Farm. It was a quaint little farm with lots of picking options and a full-service farm stand. They had everything from sweet potatoes to string beans, and I am definately going back in October to pick my own pumpkin (meetup outing, anyone?).

The next time I go to a farm, I am bringing some children. There’s a reason why schools had summer vacation, and it’s that kids are really useful when it comes to harvesting crops. They are low to the ground and have little hands. I, on the other hand, ended up with a sore back and scratches all over. The strawberry field was amazing, and there were so many ripe, delicious strawberries that I had a hard time choosing. The raspberry field was a little picked over, but I was determined to get enough together for a jam, and I managed to get an entire pound of them. It just took an hour and a half. I also picke dup some boysenberries, but I don’t think they were quite ripe enough, as evidenced by the disastorous consistency of my boysenberry jam.

I managed to find a basic jam recipe that worked well for all three of my berries.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh berries
  • 2 c. of sugar

Use a potato masher to break the berries down into a pulp. Add sugar and stir well to combine. Pour into a saucepan over medium-high heat.

Over the course of about 10 minutes, stir the mixture frequently while it begins to boil. It will darken in color. The way to test the jam is by keeping a spoon in ice water and scooping up little bits of the jam. Blow on it to bring it to room temperature, and when it’s thick and gloopy, you have jam.

At this point, if you know what you are doing, you can pour it into sterilized jars. This is what I did, but I have no idea whether I did it right, so I can’t really dole out advice on that topic. For the record, I will be keeping my jam in the refridgerator and finishing it as quickly as possible.