BY KATIE LAMONT, East Lake High
Recipes often offer sugar-coated steps that make the experience look to be a breeze. Those steps do not include, however, the boiling strawberry lava that coats your stove, and the massive clean-up. I'm here to set the record straight.
offers the seriously perfect summer treat, homemade jam that technically is more healthful, too, considering you actually know what's in it! Take note, the road to yummy homemade jam is a lot longer than driving down to Publix and grabbing a jar of Smuckers. But, yours will, if you do it the right way, beat out that processed stuff easy.
So, follow the recipe here
and, for a little easier going, follow my field notes, below:
Steps 1-3 are exactly as she says. Just blend until you have liquid! Which is faster than expected.
Step 4: You are told to use two cups of sugar; it's not necessary. Using only one, mine is just right, even much sweeter than I assumed!
Also, when squeezing in the lemon, be careful not to let those seeds fall in. I spent 5 minutes fishing three seeds out.
Step 5: This is debatable. Halfway through scooping the pink foam off my jam, my brother claimed it was a waste of time. So I stopped. My jam tastes just fine, though it is indeed more pink than the rookie mag photos, so that one is up to you.
Step 6: Boiling the glass jars may seem like a lot of work, but it's a must. I boiled two jars just in case, even though I only needed one. Better safe than sorry.
Step 7: Mine looked nothing like her picture, but to test it, I turned the stove heat to high, and if it was easily boiling like before. I kept it going.
Steps 8-9 (They aren't labeled but you get the idea): You're going to think you're done with your jam way before you really are. When in doubt, keep stirring; the thicker, the better. My jam, now that it is done, is pretty runny, but yummy on PB&Js is not sacrificed.
Step 10: This step really confused me, don't ask why, and I read it about 10 times before I actually went through with it. Just follow her instructions, and be careful! I burnt my hand a few times in the process.
Step 11: During the 10 minutes while the jars sat upside down, I cleaned up. I had strawberry goo stuck to my stove, two pots to scrub down and leftover pink foam from step 5. (I stuck it in the freezer and still haven't checked on, but I'm guessing it might be great on top of some vanilla ice cream.) Then, I let the jam sit over night.
The next morning I was blessed with the sweetest, freshest jam I've ever had. Only one cup of sugar was plenty, and it made the coolest Father's Day present. Completely worth the effort, and a nice cure for summer boredom. Remember though, it has to be refrigerated; don't let it spoil! And don't freak if yours isn't as translucenty red as rookiemag's. Mine was a frumpy pink, thanks to my brother's advice. Delicious, but frumpy pink.
Photos by Katie Lamont