Any one who knows me, knows that I like to make homemade preserves. I love the fresh flavor of jams made without preservatives. My favorite, is BLUEBERRY preserves because:
1.) They're BLUEBERRY (DUH!)
2.) Have you ever priced out blueberry preserves? (You will soon see the irony in this comment).
Now, I am a trained professional and am very serious about Sterile Technique when I make my own jams.
I also prefer, if possible, to make it without pectin.
Blueberry preserves take a
SO, yesterday I got my 4 pints of blueberries, washed and sorted through them removing the stems and leaves and the yucky couple of blueberries in there. I mashed them up and had about 5 cups of mashed blueberries.
I added 3 1/2 cups of sugar and 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice and the rind of a lemon to the mix.
I got a nice, rocking, foaming boil going and the handy dandy candy thermometer said it was around 205 to 210 degrees F. I cooked the preserves to a nice thick consistency (about 30 minutes) and tested for gelling on frozen plate (I put a drop on the plate, ran my finger through it and the preserves didn't run together through the trough). I also taste tested them and YUM!
I washed my hands for the five thousandth time in the process after that, too. (I'm serious about sterile technique).
Meanwhile, I had my jars a-boilin' away in the canner, the lids and rings in another pot, all of my towels out, my jar tongs, my little magnetic rod (to pick my rings and lids out of the boiling water), all ready to go.
I started taking the jars out of the boiling water, one by one, with my special handy-dandy jar tongs and one slipped and poured scalding hot water all over my abdomen, left leg, and the top of my foot.
Now, I was never trained in the art of stripping, but you would never have known that if you had been in the kitchen with me. I tore off my shirt, and suddenly the foot burn registered, as I tore off my sneakers, socks and pants, and was left standing in the kitchen in my underwear, swearing.
Just so you know, it is not possible to run your abdomen and your foot under cold water for twenty minutes without suffering from hypothermia.
I grabbed some ice and made a cold pack with a wet washrag, put it inside my bathrobe and tightened the belt to hold it in, put ice on my foot inside a sock, and went outside to tell my husband that I had scalded myself.
HOWEVER, before I went outside to let my husband know that I was possibly mortally wounded, I poured all of the jam using excellent sterile technique into the sterile jars with a sterile funnel and a sterile ladle, left a 1/4 inch of head room, and wiped off the tops of the jars without touching the preserves or the inside of the jar. I again, with excellent sterile technique, placed the lids and the rings on the jars, and put them in the boiling water bath with 2 inches of water on top of the jars and processed them for 15 minutes.
Why waste perfectly good blueberry preserves?
Just so you know, the cost of the preserves was about Fifty dollars, after my husband ran to the pharmacy to get me nonstick bandages, wrapping bandages, burn gel, tape, etc.
Even though in my case, they cost about fifty zillion dollars, they are so incredibly worth it. Just stand FAR AWAY FROM THE BOILING WATER WHEN YOU TAKE OUT YOUR JARS.