As I sit here with a glass of mead nearby, I can finally review the day. Oh, I hear movement upstairs. That means Kim is finally back from coffee night with the ladies. Most immediately, that means the 11 jars of strawberry jam sitting on the counter. But as I pause I also consider a well-executed sermon by my pastor, a busy but not-too-stressful afternoon, the meal I prepared for dinner, the reception of my first attempt at ginger-beer/ale and the conversation after dinner with my re-group. All in all, I’m grateful for so many things.
The jam-making went pretty smooth, as far as I’m concerned. Five pounds of strawberries were chopped up, then smashed with a potato masher and put on to heat to a solid bubble. Before the bubble set in, I tossed in a 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and once it was at a good pace, I added 7 tbsp. of pectin mixed with a 1/2 cup of sugar. I waited for a boil that would continue after stirring, and I then quickly added in another 2 1/2 cups of sugar (for a total of 3 cups). Once that was all at a rolling boil, I gave it another minute, before removing it from the heat and parceling it out to heat-sanitized 1/2 pint jars. I did need to first remove some pink foam, but that went smoothly.
Now, I only expected 8 jars. So 11 is nice, but it probably explains a less than perfect set; there was simply too much strawberry for the amount of pectin. Still sweet, but a more noticeable tartness. Kim was not so thrilled with last year’s sweetness, and asked that I lower it. I cut by a 1/4 from last year’s 4 cups of sugar. A brief pause to check with Kim’s taste buds…she is much happier with the lesser sugar, though not as pleased with the set. ho hum.
Each jar received the suggested 10 minute boil. And now they sit on the counter for 24 hours. I’ve already heard numerous pop! sounds, indicating a seal being completed.
I have another 5 lbs for a second batch of strawberry jam; maybe I’ll use 8 tbsp. of pectin this time. I also have another 4 pounds on the counter for a strawberry wine. Kim is not so fond of strawberry wine, I have come to learn, so rather than make a bigger batch, I’m just going to do a single gallon. I think this time it will be strawberry-agave, using agave nectar rather than honey or sugar. I just happen to have quite a bit on-hand. Also, I think I’m going to add a mild amount of dates, for additional flavor and body.
As for the ginger beer, it seemed a hit with my friends. I had one who suggested I make her a batch to take home in the future, despite my comments that it was an easy thing to make on one’s own. I may just help her out with that. I have another batch of my own in mind, this time with blueberry as an additional flavor. All I can really think to comment on the ginger beer is that it is more sour than your typical commercial ginger ale, definitely a potent ginger kick (though I can see myself increasing the amount sometime), and less sweet (as expected). Actually, much less ginger for the amount of gingery flavor. I’m a fan, plain and simple.
Well, I think I’m going to go do some reading. Maybe finish the book I’ve reading since the start of last month. Maybe not. In any case, typing is keeping me from finishing the mead. And we can’t have that.