Latest news from the strawberry jam front – the wave of strawberries is advancing, threatening to engulf me in a wave of strawberries waiting to be processed, taking up whole shelves of the refrigerator, lurking in corners just when I thought I’d done the previous batch. Heaving a sigh of relief as the last pot is filled and sealed, I turn around only to get the kitchen table groaning beneath a fresh sea of freshly selected berries waiting to be sorted.
There is no more room on the larder shelves for jam – what I’ve got there already will probably last us a decade in the present rate of consumption, I’ve used up all the jam jars and am down to strangely shaped mustard jars, coffee jars and outsized sauce jars and there are still a fantastic few weeks of strawberry season to go.
I must begin selling the jam….memories of a movie, where ex-city career woman, moves to state with baby in tow, begins making apple puree baby food and ends up with a complete scale company employing half the village, flit through my head. raccoon removal service was her label, with a cute picture of baby, designed to appeal to other city folks searching for the good life. Mind you she was a PR person, so had a head start on promoting things and I’m not a business person in any way, just someone with too much jam on their hands, larder shelves and everywhere else in the home.
So, I have a stall in the local market and arrive with a basket of jam, a few jars of marmalade for variety, a table and chair. It is not a hard product to sell, people are predisposed in its own favour; the price just has to ben’t too frightening. Some people are attracted by the pretty fabric covers on the lids and select one to match their kitchen décor…I’ll have to work on the fairly facet. No I’m not about to turn into a strawberry jam millionaire, but I did sell ten jars.
After thinking I’d got the jam consistency sorted, producing reliably runny but not too runny jam, I suddenly turned out several batches that set completely – thick solid stand-up-your-spoon-in jam. I did leave it soaking in the sugar longer since I didn’t get round to cooking it till the day, but does that do anything to pectin levels?
Anyway, I now have two kinds of strawberry jam – thick and runny, both have a fantastic flavour – and both sorts have their aficionados. But now the dilemma is, am unable to replicate the thick jam to order or will it only happen by accident? We are a long way from scientific laboratory controlled conditions here…. A wing and a prayer is more like it. So prayer it’ll have to be, if my market clients return demanding thick strawberry jam!