I told Annie Lou that I thought making jam sounded like a tough, time-consuming process that would probably always seem overwhelming to me. She immediately took it as a challenge: “come over, it’ll take one hour and you’ll have jam.”
I love eating jam and I love to cook, how could I possibly refuse an offer from someone who promised to teach me how to make something so tasty in less an hour?
Annie Lou lives in Kalskag, AK. She’s got more energy than most people I know who are 20 – and she’s 70 years old. I admire her! It was a real treat to get a jam-making lesson from such a pro. I tried my best to follow the steps she taught us, but undoubtedly I missed a few. Here is what I remember:
The first step – cleaning the jars to be used for canning – Annie Lou did before we even arrived.
Then, we measured out the sugar. The recipe we were using called for 7 cups of sugar. Sometimes I like sweeter jam and sometimes I like jam that is a little more tart. I could imagine altering this part of the recipe quite a bit until I figured out the right ratio (for me). Here is Michelle, carefully measuring each cup.
The berries! Annie Lou had these berries frozen in her freezer from last summer. She said she thought she’d pulled out three bags of blueberries, but as it thawed, she realized it was one bag of blueberries and two bags of red berries. I love both, so I wasn’t about to complain.
Annie Lou’s advice: Always check and double-check the recipe.
Measure out the berries carefully. We used 4.5 cups of berries – and supplemented the other half cup with water.
Then, bring the berries to a rapid boil. Start adding the sugar.
Don’t forget to check the recipe!
Oh, and prepare your jars for pouring. Place them in a spot near the stovetop, removing all the lids.
Add two pouches of pectin and stir for another six minutes. Keep time!
Before we left, Annie Lou told us that she wanted to teach us how to make jam “because something isn’t yours until you give it away. If I die tomorrow, I know that you can teach others what I’ve taught you.”
Not only is Annie Lou good at making jam, but she’s good at teaching the kinds of life lessons that make life worth living.