FOODIE: Cannin' Jam

A few weeks before our recent "Idavation" to southeast Idaho, I was chatting back and forth on Facebook with a dear friend of Eric's mom, Marian, who lives in Idaho Falls. I had been inquiring of my Facebook friends of must-stop places to eat in the area and Marian shot me a note back about coming over to make raspberry jam at her house. I was almost so thrilled I couldn't respond. Raspberries?! Canning?!! At your house?@!#!@

Of course, we were all over it. Marian invited us all over one Sunday morning to pick the fresh raspberries from her backyard. The girls loved it but, of course, more went in their mouths than in the bucket (the same thing happened when we picked huckleberries in the mountains a few days later).
Next, Marian let Lucy wash the berries in her sink and taught me how to get all necessary supplies out ahead of time. When canning, apparently, you must move swiftly and carefully.

So, while Lucy got to mashing the berries, I helped Marian lay out dry towels, measure the enormous amounts of sugar, wash the jars, boil the lids, and get the canner set up and the water boiling. I also took a minute to read over the pectin box instructions. Marian, who is an educator at heart, took the time to explain to me the various types of canning options, different ways to make jam and jelly, and a bit about the history of it all.

After boiling the raspberries, sugar and pectin together, I made a huge mess pouring the concoction into the jars, which is why the many towels and washcloths came in handy. We put the lids on and whisked them into the canner until they were ready, lifting them carefully out with some large device so we didn't burn ourselves. Within minutes the lids began to POP!, which meant they were sealed and I could breathe easily again. While Marian has spent her life canning and moved around the kitchen like a pro, I was a bit worried I'd mess up what was left of her precious raspberries.

But I didn't. And we had an iced tea party with fresh biscuits and the "fuzz jam," Marian's children's name for the raspberry fuzz you skim off the top of the berries before pouring the jam into the jars.

It was a delicious treat, and we enjoyed sitting outside on Marian's new patio on a cool Sunday afternoon. We have since scarfed down two large jars of jam and I have given a few away as gifts. And let me tell you, these were very special people who got my first batch of jam I ever made. Not only is it hard work, the jam is so amazing that I want to hoarde it all for myself. Luckily for me, Marian keeps on making it but doesn't eat so much of it herself these days and has offered up more when I run out. Which might be tomorrow.