From 1927: Strawberry Jam

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Is there anything more comforting than homemade strawberry jam? Maybe. But, it’s definitely in the running for one of the most comforting things to me. It’s up there with hot tea, chicken noodle soup, and mashed potatoes and gravy. And, of course, I’m just talking about the food category. There are lots of other comforting things I enjoy in other categories! So, why am I talking about comforts? I start my PhD program today… well, I start classes today. I had my orientation yesterday. But, the point is I am NERVOUS.

I mentioned that a week ago – that I’m nervous. So, sorry about blathering on about my nerves again. But, I can’t help it! I’m “can’t sleep-having trouble breathing-voice shaking-forgetting simple things like my name-need to wear multiple coats of deodorant” nervous. TMI? Sure, but you’ve been there. Admit it. But, let’s talk about some history. That’ll calm me down. What happened in 1927?

The first feature-length sound movie, The Jazz Singer, hit theaters. The Ford Motor Company introduced the Model A to the world. Work began on Mt. Rushmore (it wouldn’t be finished until 1941). Clara Bow became the “it” girl with her iconic and modern Flapper look. The first transatlantic telephone call was made from New York City to London. “Blotto,” became a favorite slang word meaning extremely drunk. And, Charles Lindbergh made the first solo, non-stop transatlantic flight in the Spirit of St. Louis. He flew from New York to Paris. I bet he could talk to me about feeling nervous!

So, what are we making? Strawberry jam from Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes published in 1927. Let’s get into the kitchen and make some history!

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Here are our ingredients: Strawberries, sugar, and lemons.

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Step 1: Rinse the strawberries. Now, as you can tell, I cut down the recipe. I decided to use one quart of strawberries and adjust the rest of the proportions accordingly. One quart of strawberries is about a pound and a half, depending on the size of the strawberries. I just used two 16 ounce containers of strawberries to make it easy – having a bit too much strawberry is no problem at all!

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Step 2: Cut off the tops of the strawberries, and put the strawberries in a mixing bowl. You can hull them if you want, but I just cut off the tops.

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Step 3: Mash the strawberries with a fork until you have a nice pile of strawberry mush. You can’t mess this step up – just have fun with it! Now, the recipes tells us to only mash part of the berries, but I just went for it with all of them. I figured it would help my berries break down and become really smooth, which is what I wanted.

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Step 4: Then, put all those mashed strawberries in a saucepan.

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Step 5: Add the sugar and the lemon juice. Again, I made a little tweak to the recipe. I put the lemon juice in the with the sugar so that it would be able to help the jam gel during the cooking process.

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Step 6: Stir everything together, and turn the heat on to medium-high.

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Step 7: Once the mixture begins foaming and bubbling, set a timer. There are a number of ways to follow along with jam so you can tell when it’s done, but I just went with a timer method. Like in the old days, I imagine!

You want to boil the jam for 35-45 minutes, or until it’s as thick as you like. Some people like thinner jam boiled for around 35 minutes, and others like thicker jam boiled for 45 minutes or more. I boiled mine for 44-45 minutes. And, you want to make sure to stir frequently so the jam doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.

Note: About halfway through cooking, the jam may start to splatter and bubble more violently. Just turn the heat down to medium, medium-low and keep cooking – that’s what I did!

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Step 8: Once the jam becomes beautiful and thick, take it off the heat and let it cool. As it cools, it will continue to thicken. Keep that in mind while you decide how long to boil your jam.

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Final step: Pour your jam into an airtight container or jar and stick it in the refrigerator. Then, you’ll have fresh jam whenever you want! And, knowing you have fresh, homemade strawberry jam at home in the fridge is a nice thought, isn’t it?

Being nervous can be a terrible thing. It can hold you back and keep you down. It has the power to make you stay quiet or inside or away from things that might be uncomfortable. But, it’s important to remember that being a little bit uncomfortable is good for you. It’s good to get out of your safety zone, try new things, and push yourself.

When I’m feeling nervous, I think about all the things I’ll potentially miss out on if I don’t push myself, and I think about all the people that certainly have dealt with that feeling, too. I’ll bet Clara Bow felt uncomfortable at some point when she was debuting a new style to the world. And, I bet Charles Lindbergh had some nerves before and during his many accomplishments. Nerves can be bad, but it’s all about getting them under control enough to take that first step. And, that’s what I’m doing now. So, here we go!

From 1927: Strawberry Jam

  • Servings: Makes about 2 cups of jam
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. (16 oz.) strawberries, washed and capped
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, mash the strawberries with a fork until mush. Do this in batches if the bowl is too small. Pour the strawberries into a saucepan.
  2. Add the sugar and the lemon juice to the pan, and stir to combine.
  3. Turn heat on to medium-high. Once strawberries begin to bubble and foam, cook them, stirring frequently, for 35-45 minutes or until the jam coats a spoon and thickens to your preferences. During the cooking process, if the jam begins to splatter or bubble too violently, turn the heat down to medium or medium low.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool. Jam will continue to thicken as it cools.
  5. Seal in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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