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jam!

Our kids now actively request “craft” or “baking” time.  It makes my heart sing to see how much joy they get out of creating things.  Even if I have no idea what they have created (a little awkward when they ask me for commentary on said ‘creation’).  It’s a side of each of them that I want to nurture – pure creativity.  No lines to colour in, no instruction to follow, just ‘make’.  It often results in painted clothes and faces, play dough in nails and toes (and food) and belly buttons perminantly coloured a little blue.  But – it’s a small price to pay to see the looks on their proud, satisfied little faces.

serious masher

I love making things with our kids.  I want them to feel confident in the kitchen, and to understand that they have endless creative power when it comes to what they eat (once we actually hand over said ‘power’).  This past weekend we lucked in to finding some fresh local strawberries.  It was a rainy saturday so I thought it might be a good opportunity to get them all in the kitchen making some jam.  It was a blast.  They mashed berries, they measured sugar, they squashed lemons and they stirred the red sweet goodness.  Upon seeing the amount of sugar that goes in to making a good portion of jam, they also all decided that they now like jam.  An unintended good side effect.  I’ll take it.

child labour

Our jam recipe is very basic (below) but it makes for good kid fun if you are in the mood… and if you’re in the BC Lower Mainland ‘hood’  check out Krause berry farm.  There are berries to pick, and activities to play as well as a store and restaurant on site.

jam

On a side note – we took the left over berries and blended them up with ice, OJ (or equal parts sugar & water) and had amazing strawberry “slushies” three days in a row.  so good!

no-cook strawberry jam!

I don’t like to go by exact measurements because I find it’s about ratios for good jam – it all depends on how many strawberries you have. One thing to note is that you need to work in smallish batches or it won’t settle properly.  But roughly:  3 cups of mashed up strawberries (about 7 cups pre-mashing), 3 1/2 cups of sugar, 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice (fresh is way better than bottled), and one package of pectin

  1. wash your containers in hot soapy water (if you cook your jam you need to boil the containers in advance)
  2. wash and then mash berries as finely as you like them (we are a no-chunk family so the mashing was quite involved)
  3. add sugar, stir and let sit for 10 mins
  4. add pectin and lemon juice and stir for 5 minutes
  5. pour into jars, seal, and leave on a shelf for 24 hours to settle

jam will be good for 3-4 weeks in the fridge or 3-4 months in the freezer

strawberries!

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