Jam On It: How to Make Jam

Apple season means jam season in our house. As I share my jamventures with others, I hear over and over how intimidating jamming seems. It’s a simple process, really. To demystify it, I offer a primer.

1. Get to work peeling some fruit. Husband walks in the door. Use him to test market your clever “Jam On It” catch phrase.

Keep peeling…

Husband walks past you to the den. Shortly thereafter, you hear the dulcet tones of Bob Marley coming from the other room.

“Very funny!” you yell out. But really, you have jam to make.

2. Good. Peeling’s done! Now chop all the fruit.
Now Husband is playing Michael Jackson? You suspect something is amiss. Seriously, though. Keep chopping.

3.  Finally! Fruit in a pot! You’ve been making jam for almost an hour and this is as far as you’ve gotten? Never mind. Boil that fruit. Boooiiil it…

Husband plays Christina Aguilera. You find yourself singing along, “getcha getcha ya-yas heeeere,” and wonder what the hell that has to do with jam.

4. Meanwhile, the recipe seems to think you should zest a lemon. No problem. Wait. Seriously? The white part too?


Now the recipe wants you to chop the fleshy bits of lemon. No parts left behind, I guess. Avoid getting the food processor down at all costs. Maybe your mad knife skills will chop up that lemon pulp nice and fine.

NOPE. Lemon flesh is too fickle. Fine. Use a food processor, but only because you have a baby one.
Use every burner, now.

5. All that boiled fruit is now soft. Your face is shiny and your hair has frizzed beyond all hope, but no matter. Add sugar. More sugar. More…that oughta do it.

6. Go ahead and add the rest of that other stuff and bring the whole thing back to a boil. The recipe says to simmer for half an hour, then it should be ready to set. So, set a timer. Watch an episode of Gilmore Girls (Hurray Netflix!) while you wait. “Where you lead, I will follow…”

Half an hour later. Jam’s not ready yet. Perhaps another ten minutes? (Come on, Rory: Dean or Jess. Just choose one. Sure, we’ve all seen this before, but enough already.)

Still not set. Maybe another ten minutes?
Twenty minutes now?

It’s been two Gilmore Girls. The recipe is a liar. I declare perjury. Libel? Anyway. LIARS.

7. FINALLY. Jam is ready to can. Pour jam into jars. Use your fancy canning funnel, ‘cause that shit changed your fucking life.

8. Boil the jars. Remove to counter and savor the satisfying pop-pop-pop-pop-pop of the lids sealing shut. This is the sound of success.

Sure, you line up the jam in parallel lines. How else would you do it?

9. Look around you. You have laid waste to the kitchen. Somehow, you used every fucking dish in the house. Every surface is sticky, including, holy fuck, the floor. What have you done?

All in the name of apples.


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