Monday, October 21, 2013

Summer Memory: Making Jam with Grandmother

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.


  1. How very special for all of you and beautiful photos to cherish too.

  2. Freaking awesome! What a treasured day!


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