We’re Jammin’

It is Nov 2 and we are still in the tent . It has been in the high 30’s to mid 60’s.  Today though, I can’t get my feet and fingers to thaw out so I thought I would show you the pictures from when I made jam last summer…….you remember…….when it was warm and camping was easy!!!

That way we can have the warmth of summer again throught the pictures and the story!

I remember picking the grapes in the arbor and at the edge of the farm. I picked and picked and picked…….until I got stung by a bee!

 Then I went back to helping build the house!

But I called my friend Penny and she said, ” I’ll teach you to make jam!”

Well, I didn’t know how many grapes it would take to make a few jars, but I decided I needed every one I could reach plus the ones that Stephen —my 6 foot four inch husband —-could too!

So before he started work on the house I dragged out the ladders and begged and prodded him up the ladder. That’s him looking handsome as he cut bunches of grapes.

I felt like I was in a wine commercial!

With a sigh of relief, he packed me off to Hillsville for a day at Penny’s.

” Now Vicky,” Penny said,” the main ingredient in jam is sugar–lots of it!” She wasn’t kidding!

First we went to Food Lion and bought the biggest sack of sugar they had—–5 pounds—– and later we needed more!

When we asked if they carried sifters we were directed to Sunnyside.

“The sunnyside of the store?” I asked.

“No, but you’ll love this store!” And with that Penny was taking us on a great adventure!

Sunnyside store is the real deal as far as general stores go. It is a social hub for the farmers in the area because you can buy everything from candy to soap to bushel baskets to wedding gifts to plumbing supplies to boots to clothes to seeds and even furniture AND find out the local weather!!!!!!  I couldn’t stop looking! And listening!!!!

The next part of jam making is mashing them in that sifter—–it gets the seeds and the skin off and leaves just a zingy grape juice behind. Good!

Then we boiled and boiled and boiled those grapes and sugar! We took turns stirring and even young Lacey helped!

While we were waiting for the jam to set up we decided to use the last bit to make grape smoothies in Mitone’s new Vitamixer.

These smooties were like no other—–just pure cool concord grape taste. That’s us holding our foreheads because we all endded up with brain freeze!

The amazing part was sterilizing the lids and jars and listening to the POP when the jam set in the jars.

After a wonderful day, I carried my share of the treasure back to Haven Farm.

I couldn’t help myself—-I probably looked a bit smug. For once in my life I hadn’t burnt the meal or created an improvised dinner disaster!

I mean, I simply believe that recipes are suggestions  or starting points for creative cooking! Some meals taste better than others.

OR….. As Stephen philosophically  said when I made a really awful dinner,”We can always compost it!”

But my reputation preceded me and I had to really coax everyone to try the jam.  It took 2 weeks to get my cousin Dave to try it.  But he loved it! 

During our two years of married adventures, Stephen has developed a cast iron stomach.When he realized that I had created something that didn’t require TUMS as a side dish, he was thrilled! The look of astonishment on his face was worth all the trouble to make jam.

All told, I probably spent 5 hours picking grapes and one hour with ice on me for the bee sting, $60 for supplies,  endured temperatures  that felt like a saunna,and drove an hour to make 15 perfect little jam jars.

But they ate it! And they liked it!

Next year—-I plan to enter the Carroll County Fair—–look out jammers!

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