Over the summer some of my Stitch & Bitch girls and I decided to have a jam making get-together. Laura, the hostess, and my friend Carolyn had never made jam before, but Erin, Heideh, and I were old pros and wanted to teach them. So we all got together and drove out to Brentwood to go to a farm to pick strawberries which was a total blast. Then we headed back to Laura's house to get our jam on (sorry haha).
We hulled the massive piles of berries, zested and juiced lemons, and picked lavender from the garden while a cute little chocolate lab named Charlie distracted us.
Massive pots of boiling water, bubbling batches of jam and preserves, and trays of sterile jars were everywhere. Luckily it wasn't too hot that day but the house still got steamy.
Carolyn and Laura had a great time learning a new skill, and ended up with almost a dozen jars each of some truly delicious strawberry jam.
I had enough jam at home so I ended up making strawberry preserves instead by marinating the whole berries in sugar and lemon juice until there was plenty of syrup, then cooking them down before canning. Needless to say, they didn't last long. I made pancakes every weekend and they made the best topping with whipped cream. During the party, I had extra syrup after I was done canning, so we cut up some strawberries and brownies and drizzled them with it. Delicious!
All of the recipes we used were from my favorite canning book of all time, Canning for a New Generation. (Click on the link to go to my Amazon page & grab yourself a copy!) I'm seriously in love with this book, so much so that I'm hoping to make every single recipe from it. It's arranged by seasons so I thought it would be a fun year-long challenge! Sorry for all the food-related posts recently, but 2012 was a very fun foodie year. I've got a fun Valentine's Day tutorial coming on Monday, so stay tuned!