I am the domestic goddess and it's all due to a batch of raspberry jam.
No one can describe me as Holly Homemaker. While I am proud of the home that I've created, there are certain chores I dread. I prefer cleaning the kitchens and the bathrooms to dusting and vacuuming, more because of the sneezing fits I seem to have than out of dusting laziness. I am afraid of dust bunnies and have been known to heave when I find more than one in my house. Maybe it's my imagination, but I can picture a little dust bunny family living under my entertainment unit. Mama, Papa and little baby bunnies floating around, hopping under couches, coffee tables and chairs. Tonight, however, my domestic goddess title is intact and I have raspberries to thank for that.
The Man and I went raspberry picking on Sunday. It brought back a slew of memories, of me and my brother helping ourselves to one helping and then another of the raspberries that grew wild at my grandmother's house in Markdale, Ontario. We would often sneak out onto the side porch to trace the initals, names and dates carved into the brick of the Victorian house years owned by my family before we ventured around the corner and dared to approach the raspberry bushes. This past Sunday morning, we ventured a few miles from our suburban home to Downey's Farm where we were taken by tractor out to the raspberry fields. At first it was a contest, to see who could pick faster, who would get the sweetest, darkest fruit. But then it became deliberate and therapeutic, an amazing hour of meticulously finding and picking the best berries. It was quiet with not too many people with the same idea, hoping we could stave off the rain. me with my Tim Horton's coffee in hand and a basket in the other stopping off at this bush and that, filling the baskets and finally collecting a huge batch. My next thought: what in the hell were we going to do with all of these raspberries. Oh, and I managed to eat only two during the hour of picking, a feat considering I would never make it back into my grandmother's house with a full bowl.
My first batch of raspberry jam was a comedy in errors. I was impatient and failed to read the instructions on the gelatin package in its entirety. So, I missed a step or five on the no-cook raspberry jam recipe, the most important one being the 10 minutes I was supposed to wait after adding the raspberries, lemon juice and sugar I had to mix. I added the gelatin almost immediately after combining the other ingredients. The result was this sickly sweet mess in which you could feel each granule of sugar in a teaspoon. I think it would have been better suited as an exfoliating sugar wrap except it would be way too sticky.
Tonight I tackled the recipe for the second time, this time opting for the much more complicated cooked jam recipe. Sure, there were more steps and a sterilizing of glass jars and matching lids (and a little burn from me forgetting that the glass jars were just in the oven and more than a little molten). That out of the way, however, and it was down to business, stirring in the raspberries, lemon and sugar for the second time this week.
I've posted the outcome here, complete with personalized labels - Scribe & The Man's Raspberry Jam. Oh, and I've also included the kitchen aftermath since I had to use a slew of pots, mixing bowls, sieves and spoons to create the masterpiece. But the domestic goddess title was worth it, and the sense of pride I felt when all was said and done. I, Scribe, made raspberry jam from scratch. I just hope I can use up all of the raspberries before their best before date. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's third and best patch. I just hope the kitchen is up for the challenge.