Sunday, August 26, 2012

We be jammin'

Last weekend, I went up to LA with my cousin to meet up with my aunt and other cousins to make raspberry jam!  I had been excited for weeks before.  Cooking + family time - it doesn't get much better than that!

These guys have been making jam for quite a while- I can't remember how many years they said, but they are serious jammers.  We had an impressive amount of berries and I was definitely a little intimidated at first, so I took a lot of pictures before I joined in on the process.

To start, we had Collin and Brett (my two cousins) on the Quality Control Crew.  They were in charge of cleaning the berries and pulling out any bugs.  I heard some pretty funny conversations between them....

        Collin- The green ones are easy to pick out, but it's hard to see the white ones.
        Brett- Well, if no one can see them, then just leave 'em in.

After washing the berries, we mashed them up and let them to sit for a while, so that any remaining bugs would float to the top.  

Then 6 cups of berries mush was scooped out and passed to Christina to cook.  

Meanwhile, Michael had the important task of scooping 7 cups of sugar into a bunch of bowls to make it easy to add to the berries at the right time.  I loved it- 6 cups of berries to 7 cups of sugar- what a ratio!


Christina added in the pectin and brought the mix to a boil. She stirred the whole time to break up any chunks of the pectin.

Then the sugar went in and was boiled for a bit longer until the jam really puffed up.

Christina then took the boiling jam and poured it (carefully!) into Aunty Gayle's measuring cup.  

She had already set out 9-10 jars with lids (these had all been through the dishwasher the night before to be disinfected.)

From there we poured the jam into jars with about 1/8 in of room at the top.  

We'd screw on the lids and flip them over and let them sit for 5 minutes.  This allowed the boiling jam to touch the lid and top of the jar to sterilize it.  

Then the jars were flipped back over and the lids were tightened again.  We did this many, many times and ended up with an impressive amount of jam.

I got to take home 24 jars!

This morning I finally tried some of the jam (don't know what I was waiting for!) and it was so good!  I added a spoonful to my oatmeal and it was a really nice way to sweeten it.

We're supposed to make blackberry jam soon too.  I can't wait!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Daily gems

It's been rough moving to a city where I know so few people, but I've been trying to focus on the little things that make me happy.  So here are the most recent daily gems...

Cuddling with the kitten.

Watching the kitten cope with the heat. (I'm not doing so well with it either...)

Pretty flowers

Finding the kitten after getting into the pollen of said flowers

New shoes!

New wallet!

And I think the biggest good-thing-in-my-life-right-now is being able to spend time with my family down here.  I got to go swimming with my cousins a few weeks ago.

And I brought the kitty up to them for a visit as well.  Luke is in love with her.

But I'm not sure it's mutual...

The kitten has actually been really great with the boys.  She licked Luke a few times, and now all he wants to do is give her kisses back!

And Max likes her a lot too.

It's so nice to have family here.  Next week we're making jam up in LA with the other cousins!  I'm so excited and I'll definitely share pictures next week!