I took on a new activity last night per the suggestion of my friends Julia and Talia. We decided to make jam.
Making jam is one of those activities that sounds quaint and fun but as I haven’t cooked a full-on meal it what seems like months, I’m usually content to hand over the $2 for a jar of the sticky strawberry stuff. Not last night.
TJC Strawberry Balsamic Jam
Unlike various other activities I’ve attempted in the kitchen (like bagel making), this actually WAS worth the time! The ingredients were really simple too. Apparently jam is easy to make, so we just looked at a bunch of different recipes and made our own from that. We used:
- 3 pounds organic strawberries
- Juice of two juicy limes
- 2 cups of sugar (a lot of recipes call for more but this was fine)
- 3 capfuls of strawberry balsamic
- A few grinds of black pepper at the end
I’ve heard of a lot of jam recipes that include balsamic but we were inspired to add the pepper by this recipe. I admit to being slightly skeptical but it did add, as Julia eloquently worded, a nice “complexity” to the flavor.
Step one: cut the stems off and chop the berries.
Then we mixed the berries with the two cups of sugar and put it on the heat. Start off at low heat at first because otherwise the sugar will burn! We also squeezed two limes out. It was probably half a cup of lime juice overall. Some recipes call for lemon or orange—I dug the lime.
After we finally (carefully) brought it up to a boil, then it had to continue to cook at a lower temp for… a LONG time. I don’t know, an hour? It definitely is a while. The reason being that this recipe does not use any thickening agents (like cornstarch, or pectin). Julia made jam once with pectin and while it thickens much quicker, it can also take some of the taste away from the fruit, so if you have the time to let the real thing set, do it. I love foods with five ingredients!
As it was changing textures, some foam would appear that we’d skim off, or try to. Most of it was constantly dissolving back into the jam. Delicious.
Once it was almost done (you could visibly see the jam thickening as we stirred it) we added some balsamic—probably a tablespoon and then some. Not much. Enough to change the color from a bright reddish color to more brown, but it tasted great! We cooked it for about ten more minutes, ground some pepper in and taste-tested. You really could taste the strawberries (primary flavor) with the hints of the lime and balsamic, and the pepper definitely added something.
Only sad thing was we had ten jars and this recipe made four tiny ones! It cooked down a LOT from the beginning—if I made the recipe again with friends I’d double it and use a bigger pot so the fruits of my labor would last longer. : )
I had a really fun time making jam and will DEFINITELY consider making a bunch of these as gifts in the future!
I enjoyed several tastes last night and of course had to have peanut butter and jam on an English muffin for breakfast so I could eat some. Just as good as I remembered!
Note: this weekend is the Healthy Living Summit and I gotta say, I really wish I was there! I have really enjoyed meeting bloggers in real life and that would have been a great opportunity to meet so many of my favorites. Unfortunately, I really didn’t have the money sitting around. I looked into it when tickets were about to go on sale and I couldn’t find anything below almost $700 for the plane ticket itself. Then add in $100 for the ticket and probably $300 for the weekend… well, who knows how much hotel cost… and basically, there was no way in hell. Sure, looking back on it now, I definitely could have made it work, but it just seemed like too insurmountable. I still really want to go to a blogger conference and hopefully sometime soon.
I really would love to go to Foodbuzz as it’s in my city (!!!) but I’m not a Featured Publisher—I will work on that. I am really passionate about blogging and food and running and want to continue to meet more people that are into it.
Speaking of which—if you are a blogger in the bay area—email me! I’ve started trying to get some info gathered for a blogger meetup in SF and I’m really looking forward to that.
A big part of HLS and Foodbuzz and all of that is FOMO—Fear of Missing Out. I suffer from FOMO big time. Much less than I did in college (“yes I have a midterm tomorrow and a paper due I haven’t started, but, like, omg soooo many people were going out to the bars tonight!”) but I still do. And a big part of that is Zumba. (Whose logo I am allowed to use as a paying ZIN member… for now!)
I got certified to be a Zumba instructor towards the beginning of the year. I am not great at many things, but I AM a great dancer, and I am very good at Zumba. Years of dance team and captaining paid off! I was so excited to teach, but then, little did I know, two weeks later I moved to SF and started a full-time demanding job. No Zumba teaching for me. I could sub at some gyms, but my schedule is too unpredictable. It just can’t happen right now.
I’ve spent over $500 into Zumba, with the course and paying for the 6-month ZIN (instructor network) membership—and I haven’t made a dime. My ZIN membership is about to expire and I need to just cancel it, because I’m literally throwing money away if I don’t. But that makes it certain: I am a Zumba instructor who will never teach Zumba, despite how awesome of a teacher I know I’d be. I’m trying to tell myself that it’s okay… I can ALWAYS take it up again later. I can. It’s fine.
I just hate the feeling that I’m Missing Out. It’s hard for me to accept that I can’t do everything.
But I can do SOME things, and right now I need to learn to make choices. Most of which are reversible. I’m going to work on embracing where I am now and being okay with the fact that I can’t have it all. Somehow, it all works out anyway.
Have a GREAT weekend everyone and have an amazing time at the HLS if you are there!
Do you suffer from FOMO? What do you worry about missing out on?