Red jam in a jar


“You love making a mess.”  “Um.” I say distractedly delaying delay my real response. I lift the thermometer out of the boiling jam.  It’s still 104oC. How can it take so long to get to the gelling temperature?

Was that an insult or a statement of fact? I ponder.

Putting the sticky thermometer back on the stainless-steel tray beside me I noticed the 5 jam-splodged dessert spoons. The tasting spoons that I hadn’t time to wash after using so I grabbed a new one each time. I picked up the purple-stained wooden spoon and slowly stirred the bottom of each of the three saucepans so that the fruit won’t stick and burn; experience is a good teacher. There are blobs of jam on the white plate used for testing for gelling consisting; there are blobs of jam on the worktop; a lot too had made it’s way on to the hob. “Not too bad.” I say aloud to myself. Better than when the first batch boiled gloriously over the top of the saucepan in a wonderful, pink, bubbly, sticky, flowing waterfall, which decorated the sides of the saucepan, making it’s way in slow motion to sizzle on the hob before I managed to skid back to turn the cooker ring off.

I’m lucky the floor isn’t sticky.

It probably is.

The serialized, hot jam jars are lined up obediently waiting to be filled. The milk jug is standing to attention ready to pour the hot, wonderfully smelling Blackberry and Crab-apple jelly/jam into the glass jars, when (if ever) it finally reaches the golden number of 105oC.

There! At last! 105! I turn off the heat and wait for the bubbles to settle. Take up a big slotted spoon to scrap off the scum which is equally edible and will do as ‘house’ jam because it’s not pretty. I temporally put that on yet another white plate. It’s a gloopy, beautiful mess. I grab a tea towel, embracing the saucepan then pour the dark purple liquid into the jug and then pour the jam into the jars.  I put on the lids gingerly but firmly as the jars are scalding hot and stand back to admire my work.

How did I manage to get so many implements and surfaces so jammy?  I licked my fingers before yet again washing my hands and turned to respond to the statement of fact.

I grinned from ear to ear with delight!

All this created from the wild blackberries and crab apples, the abundant free fruit, gathered from near my beehives.

I’m in my element.

See also my blog post A taste of heaven (after all it is seasonal)


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