for ever and ever

I've been wanting to get around to doing this: homemade strawberry jam.

Years ago, during a long, hot summer in Bend, I worked in the kitchen at a tiny family-owned health food store and deli. I slung soups and salads, dips and salsas, the occasional baked sweet thing, and the occasional grilled savory thing. Then one day the owner arrived with an armload (+ a dolly-load more) of flats of fresh, organic strawberries.

I was introduced to the world of canning jam over the course of a couple of long, sticky days. I had the company of a teenage co-worker to keep the fruit stirred over the boil, and to help wipe jar rims after slurping the bubbling pink goo into little jar openings. The workers from the front of the house only dared to peek their heads in tentatively as we edged ever closer to delirium and hilarity the stickier and hotter we became.

The end result was sweet and rewarding. A fruity, sugary success.

I haven't made strawberry jam since.

Until the other day. I awoke with a purpose: to the farmers market for a flat of no-spray local strawberries, and on to the kitchen.

Making jam is pretty straight forward. You need a couple of big pots.

A goofy makeshift apron.

A gin and tonic doesn't hurt. (tonic with real cane sugar and a generous slice of lime.)

A helper cat for company.

And you have jam.