I have dreamed of this day. I'm serious. It was as epic as ever.
Grandma's raspberry jam fits in a category as big as that: EPIC.
As a kid, visits to grandma's house included many things: jaunts down the winding trail to the beach (& the breathless trek back up), long hunts for sea glass, board games with cousins, card games with aunts, a lazy cat on grandpa's lap &, one of my favorites: a biscuit or two smothered with butter & embellished with dollops of grandmother's raspberry jam.
A taste of this jam & I am immediately transported. I am on the ferry boat that takes me to the island where grandma lives. I am in her warm house. I walk past rubber boots in the laundry room & see the cookie jar on the corner shelf where treats are hidden for grandkids. I spy the oval shaped braided rug on the floor in the family room, & smell the wood stove burning. I look through a giant window which overlooks a ginormous yard filled with: plenty of space to run & play, a deck for watching the ocean activity, a forest balanced on either side of the lawn. I walk outside & am surrounded by pine trees. I notice grandpa's rigs & tool shed. I pass by grandma's vegetable garden.
But I'm getting off topic...
For the last few years I thought how special it would be to make jam with grandma. But I lived so far away & didn't know if I'd ever get to be near her again. Four months ago there were 1,253.18 miles that separated us. Now, I am only .29 miles down the road. Just a simple 6 minute walk away.
And I returned at the height of jam-making season.
A visit to the Farmer's Market this summer produced 12 cups of raspberries. 12 glorious cups. The berries smelled so sweet & perfect.
Jars & pectin & sugar were gathered next.
This newbie to canning (*points to self*) had a slight freak out moment before it all began, but grandmother calmed my nerves. My mom was nearby to help too. I bumbled around a bit & made a mess far more outrageous than two simple batches of jam should ever make.
Grandmother, taking support from her cane & leaning on the kitchen counter, patiently guided me along.
I brought her a chair from the dining table & plopped it right next to the stove so she'd be more comfortable. And so she'd be as close as possible in case I needed her.
Grandmother hadn't made jam in years. I think she missed the rolling boil, the skimming of the foam.
She nudged me aside so she could have a stir at the pot.
That lady got up on her jam-cycle & did wheelies just to show off.
Once the jars were filled, I waited patiently. And then I heard it: PING!!! I squealed. One down, 17 more to go. In a matter of minutes, all 18 jars sealed with that magical sound. I was so excited! The cutest thing was how happy my grandmother was for me.
The jars of jam are currently down in the cool basement. They are precious to me. I feel like a jam hoarder. But in reality, they are ready to give as Christmas gifts.
The jam is delicious. Tastes just like grandma's.
Made with love. Tremendous big gobs of it.