Saturday, March 26, 2011

Can, if you Can! Homemade Strawberry Jam

One thing I love about my homeschool group is that we have fun, interesting and educational field trips all the time.  Last week, Matthew and I got to go on a field trip to the Little Rock Cannery in Brooksville, FL.  We made strawberry jam!  Have you ever been to a cannery?  It's an amazing place.  There is so much interesting equipment and endless possibilities of things you can can.  It's not just for fruits and vegetables.  There were cans (well, Ball jars) of chicken, broth, pork, ground beef, herbs, and all kinds of other yummy things.  But, for the purpose of our field trip our group made strawberry jam.  Come along on our adventure...

Step #1:
Sterilize the jars and lids in the water bath.  This took 10 minutes

Step #2:
Smash the strawberries until they are pureed.  This took a lot of muscle.  Doesn't Matthew look handsome in his Chef's Cover. is NOT an apron!

Step # 3:
Simmer the strawberries.  He had to keep stirring them slowly until they boiled even when he was stirring them.  Work those arm muscles, Matthew!

Step #4:  
Measure out the sugar needed to add to the strawberries.  Add it to the strawberries on the stove while they are simmering.  Also add the gelatin to help it set.  This is Ms. Cara helping out.  She is one of the part time assistants at the Cannery.

Step #5:
Pour the strawberry mixture into the Ball jars and put the lids on.  Be careful!  It's very very hot!  That's Ms. Flossie, the full time employee at the Cannery.  She is a walking, talking encyclopedia on canning and can answer every question and help you can anything you want.

Step #6:
Play with Legos, of course.  After filling the jars and securing the lids, they go into that water bath as shown in step #1.  They are there for 10 minutes.  So, what else should a boy do?  Play Legos!  Matthew was very happy there were a couple of other young men there to hang out with.

Step #7:
The delicious finished product!  Our very own homemade strawberry jam!  They just need to sit for 24 hours before we can open them.  Then, there's no holding back!  We can't wait to eat it!

Here are the kids who joined on this field trip.  Don't forget the two ladies that made it all possible.  Right in the center is Ms. Cara & Ms. Flossie

This was such an amazing opportunity!  We loved it so much that we decided to become a member of the Little Rock Cannery.  It is only $25 to be a member for an entire year.  That includes use of the facility (every day if you want) and, probably more importantly, access to Flossie Raines and all her knowledge.  She will walk you through every step of the way.  I'll be needing that because I don't have a clue beyond strawberry jam!  I'll be heading back next week to can some chicken.  Yumalicious!

Here's some shocking news for ya!  Little Rock Cannery is always in danger of being closed.  Can you imagine that?  A place where people can go to do an age old tradition of canning food so that they can have access to fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables and meats all year round and have a stock of healthy, naturally made products right on their shelves.  Food prices are going up every day.  Doesn't it make sense to purchase it now, can it, and have it for years to come without having to pay the inflated prices next month or next year?

For me, it was a no brainer.  I'll be glad to pay the small price of $25 for the year in order to be able to use this facility.  Do you want to be a part of this too?  Well, you can either become a member or just donate.  Any amount will help.  Truly, any amount.  If you are interested in touring the facility, becoming a member, or just giving a donation, please contact Flossie Raines at 352-540-4306.  Thanks and God Bless!

1 comment:

  1. They raised the price a little. It used to be $10, which seems really low for what you get, so I think $25 is great. All those supplies, water and electricity. We are so lucky to have such a place here. I've never been! I'd love to start canning meats and such.

    Cute pics!