I love spring. It is my favorite season. It might be because of the warmer weather – I HATE being cold. It might be because of the beautiful flowers that I used to look forward to all year…before we moved to the desert. Man, I miss those flowers. It might be because I LOVE asparagus and could eat it by the pound, and spring is the only time of year that it does not cost a fortune. Or, maybe it is because of the beautiful strawberries that go on sale for less than $1.00/lb. I think I love strawberries as much as I love spring.
In the early days of my marriage, I would fill the freezer with homemade strawberry jam every spring. We would eat it right along with the homemade whole wheat bread that I baked fresh every week. Yeah, those were good days. I think I have gotten lazy in my old age, because the bread is now a treat that I make a few times a year, and the jam…well, it has been a few years since I have even attempted it.
Every time I have gone grocery shopping in the past month, I have seen the cheap strawberries, and bought a few packages to fill the fridge. They were always gone in no time, because I might have a few strawberry loving kids that raid the fridge like vultures on those shopping days. I have never bought enough to make jam…until yesterday. That delicious stuff was calling my name, and I couldn’t put it off any longer. So, I filled my cart with strawberries, and then went to three other stores to find pectin. Why is that stuff so difficult to find when I need it?
After picking up the kids from school, I came home and got to work. Kate and Carson helped me to stir (and stir…and stir…) that beautiful red liquid and pour it into jars. After the fourth batch, I picked up a bottle from the first batch, and it was still not set…at all. So, I looked back at the recipe, and immediately saw the problem.
If you have ever made jam, you know that all of the measurements have to be exact in order for the jam to set. I am NEVER exact about anything, especially in the kitchen. I am a dumper, not a measurer. But, knowing the delicate balance with jam, I leveled off each cup of sugar, and each tablespoon of pectin with a knife, and tried to be as exact as possible. The problem was…I apparently forgot how to do math.
Here is the recipe from the pectin package:
Since it says that each recipe makes 2 jars, and you shouldn’t exceed 6 jars per batch, I decided to triple the recipe. I even wrote in my calculations so I wouldn’t forget them. I first figured out that 2/3 cup multiplied by three equals 2 cups. I am not sure how I then concluded that 1-2/3 cup multiplied by three would equal 3 cups. It doesn’t even make sense at all, but I didn’t realize that I should have been using 5 cups of fruit instead of 3 until I had mixed the fourth batch. HELLO!!! Where was my brain? This is why Jordan is the resident math tutor around here, and not me! I need to go back to third grade fractions. Anything above that is apparently too advanced for me!
When I realized my HUGE addition error, I tried to back track. I had more strawberries in the fridge, so I pulled them out and mashed them. I then started pouring jars of jam back into the bowl, adding more fruit, and pouring the new mixture back into the jars. Remember the delicate balance…well, that was completely thrown out the window! It was a little too late.
I ended up with 13 pints of jam, and I will let you guess how many of those set. I will wait while you stop laughing and guess…
If you guessed anything more than zero, you are most certainly wrong! I now have a freezer full of strawberry syrup. Awesome!
But, here’s the thing…that stuff is still DELICIOUS!! I may or may not have been eating it by the spoonful as I was cleaning up the sticky mess of strawberry goo all over my kitchen. My husband LOVED it (and asked for some homemade bread to go with it…which he just might have to bake himself if he would like it…), and the kids would have never known the difference if I hadn’t pointed it out to them. It’s all sweet and sticky…so what if it is a little runny, right? Imperfection can be really delicious sometimes!
There are a myriad of connections to be made, but I will let you make them all by yourselves. That is what parables are about, after all. Plus, my brain is apparently not working so well, as I have shown you, so making connections is probably not going to be my strong point today.
Hopefully you have had a good laugh at my expense. Consider this my Easter gift to you. You can now feel much better about yourselves when you realize that your addition and jam making skills are much more refined than mine. But, hey, if you need strawberry syrup, I have the best in town! Stop on by. I may even make some homemade bread to go with it.
But, don’t hold your breath!