Friday, April 27, 2012

Girls, Chickens, and Jam

It's been so much fun having chickens. The girls are amazed with them and I am too. We've started letting them run around the yard for parts of the day and the girls are really enjoying that time.

Can you tell?

The girls turned 27 months last week. We're almost to that 2 1/2 year old mark and I can tell the changes that are going on in their little thinkers. Each day they tackle something they couldn't before. They mutter out a sentence that makes sense. They accomplish a task that I might not have thought they could alone. 
I'm just amazed by the growth that's taking place right before my eyes. 

Personality. Oh boy! It is SO here. It's been here for a while, but they've been polishing it and it's got a glossy shine these days. Silly, attitude, whit, creativeness, wild imagination, tender love,'s all there and I'm so proud of both of them. 

We're still working on potty training. I never pressed the issue because I saw signs that they weren't ready and I was right. We're almost there that point where we can begin. HA! Toddler beds are right around the corner. In fact, I think tonight will be trial one. Picking these goofs up out of their beds isn't as easy anymore. So, it's time. 

These three little chicks have so much character. I have never met such prissy chickens in my life. They even like their chins scratched. It's so funny! The girls talk to them and follow them around. They feed them anything they can find which pleases the chickens just fine. I sit back and watch this show because front row seats are rare and few.  

The strawberry jam or jelly that I made this past weekend is still as good as ever! I've had a few people ask for the recipe, which isn't anything fancy, but I'm going to share it anyways. It's too good not to share.

A few words before hand: 
1. We like a thinner jam. It's just our preference. 
I'll share how to make sure it's thicker if you like it better that way.
2. I cut back on the sugar.
3. This is a cooked method so if you're wanting to make freezer jam, 
4. If you have a boat load of strawberries, you might want to double this recipe. I had 2 qrts chopped berries and ended up with 6 jars of jam and one small 8 oz jar. 
5. There are thousands of tutorials on making jam and jelly. I think the Sure Jell website is the easiest to follow. I didn't really follow their exact recipe because I never truly follow a recipe to it's exact-ness. But, if you are more of that type of person, just click here and you'll find all the recipes you need and more advice on this whole process. 
6. Don't stress about it. It's not that hard. HAVE FUN!!!! 

Ok, here's what you'll need:
Sugar (atleast 4 cups)
Sure Jell
Lemon juice
Mason jars or freezer jars
New seals and lids

Let's get started.
1. Start by cleaning your jars. Sanitizing them prevents bacterial growth later on. 
2. Clean your berries well and cut them up in to half size pieces. Chop or mash  them up either using a food processor or a potato masher. Your choice. If you use the processor, don't chop them up completely. Leave lots of chunks (this way IS A LOT faster).
3. Pour your berries into a pot and bring to a simmer on the stove. Once there is bubbling, add in 4 cups of sugar. If you prefer a thicker jam, add in more sugar. The original recipe I followed called for 7 cups. It's your call. 
4. Once the sugar is dissolved, add in one packet of Sure Jell and stir well. 
5. Add in 1/3 cup lemon juice. This will raise the acidity level for shelf storage. That's all. 
6. Once it's all combined well and nice and bubbly, begin the canning method. If there's a good amount of foam on top, feel free to scoop it off. No biggie!
7. Fill the jars, seal them, drop them in the can bath, 14 minutes later pull them out, put the rings on and allow to sit. 
8. Sit back and enjoy the song of jars-a-sealin'!!!

Make some pancakes or biscuits or even homemade ice cream and enjoy that old fashion Strawberry Jam. 

Happy Friday!

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