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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Preserving the past in a jar



preserves.jpgAs much as I love and appreciate modern conveniences in my modern life, I still need to go a little old school some days. Domestically speaking.

As easy as it would be to run up to Publix for a jar of Smucker’s, every March I get a taste for homemade strawberry jam. When I see those ripe, delicious Plant City strawberries staring at me (often from Publix) I always seem to reach back to my roots and plan a day of jam-making.

My grandmother used to make it when I was growing up. As modern and as forward-thinking as she was, every spring we would head up north to a small farm and pick a basket or two of strawberries before heading home to her warm kitchen. With pots seemingly bubbling on every burner, in a few hours there would be dozens of jars of jellies and jams ready to share with the neighbors or spread on a piece of toast. It was the best thing I’d ever tasted.

For years I wouldn’t attempt this particular process on my own -- I was convinced that I’d kill us all through botulism and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but after I started to research it, I realized it wasn’t at all that complicated. There are many guides on the Internet to help you get started, and recipes to satisfy any level of culinary comfort. Soon enough, my kitchen smelled sweet and syrupy and my kids looked forward to Jam Day as well. Just a breath of that delicious pot of boiling fruit brings me back to that chair dragged to my grandmother’s Formica counter with a sticky wooden spoon in my hand. It’s something I hope my kids will remember fondly someday.

So if you’ve got a taste for some sweet memories, try making up an old-fashioned batch of jam with your family. It’s the perfect season for it.

--Tracey Henry

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[Last modified: Thursday, March 24, 2011 5:44pm]


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