I spent the last 2 weekends solo with each of my daughters and their friends. One weekend was Emily and her 3 pals, the other was Jessica and her 3 pals. Interesting conversations, watching all of the kids with each other. All and all it was really a great thing.
The one part which is something that I am totally unaccustomed to is the chauffeur part. I took them to town and picked them up when they had completed their mission – shopping, dinner and a movie. Each weekend was a bit different but they couldn’t get there without me. I was happy to do it but I am not sure how happy I would be if I had to do that every weekend and all the time.
One of the things I love about living in NYC is that once you hit a certain age, you’re on your own with cell phone in hand. You learn to navigate the subway system, the roads you travel, how to get to and from a party, where to find the movie you want to see, etc. It is a beautiful thing.
So, what I did while hanging out waiting for the pick up is make strawberry jam. The strawberries are unbelievable this year. Big and delicious! I went a bit crazy and made about 30 jars. We are stocked. Next on the agenda, blueberry and peach jam when the season arrives.
Making jam is pretty easy. I use the gelatin recipe basically insuring that the jelly firms up. 5 cups of strawberries, smashed and heated up with 1/2 t. unsalted butter and a gelatin pack. Bring this to boil. Then add 7 cups of sugar. The key here is really bringing this up to a rolling boil. A true rolling boil is when the mixture boils (small bubbles on the surface) even when you are stirring. When this happens stir for another minute and then you are done. Ladle the jam into jelly jars. Seal and put them in a water bath (boiling water) for another 10-15 minutes so they seal.
This year I used the basic Kerr jar and also new jars from Weck. I really like the Weck jars because they are better looking. It took me awhile to figure them out. They are reusable which is a bonus. They also come with plastic tops to use once they are open in the refrigerator. I hope they sealed ok. We will soon see.
Move to California now! Do it for the Dems, do it for the produce! I put up a lot of jams and preserves made from strawberries and stone fruits I grow here at Rancho Bizarro in northern San Diego County.My avalon peaches are about two weeks from being ready to pick and I have a 75′ by 35′ Sequoia strwberry patch that’s part of my upper garden.
I really do love your blog.
On your next trip out to the west coast you may want to check out Route 1 north of San Francisco. A most favorite and romantic overnight or weekend get-a-away for us has always been Mendocino!
Primary reason? The new England charm and scenery of a town built on a cliff overloopking the Pacific? The amazing accomodations of the B & B’s you will find there? The incredible views and drive through majestic redwoods standing sentinel along your route to the sea? Or maybe it is the Mendicino Jams Company, the last little shop (almost) at the end of main street.
A perfect day is simply hording these incredible jams, marmalades, fudge and other desert sauces. Their menu of items is incredible and for decades Mendocno Jams and Preserves “hath no competetion” when sending home baskets for the holidays to the family in the Catskills. Check out their website G.G….better yet…have Fred saddle up a couple of seats on Jet Blue and then follow these instructions: North on 101 into San Francisco and lunch at Post Rio. A Wolfgang restaurant, less Wolfgang, as you may expect. Don’t think twice and order the… divine in that Post Rio trademarked sort of way…lobster sandwich. It is recently back on the menu after five years in abstentia…over the bridge through Marin and Santa Rosa (about an hour and half) to Cloverdale. Head North and a bit west through Booneville ( Check out the Novel by the same name-Author Robert Anderson, great guy, maverick and old aquaintance). Head west from 101 on Route 128 where you will be greeted by the redwoods all the way to the coast for a good 50 miles. Hit Highway 1 and North another 15 minutes and voila, you are there. Sorry about the ramblin’ but jams seem to do that to me…I will try your recipe soon… and thanks!