Watch me do the can, can, canning of jam. Or the attempt thereof because, so far, the gathering of supplies has been a comedy of errors.
I helped facilitate a jam-making night last week and didn't bring my berries with because I wasn't sure how long it would take if we had more people than burners, blah blah blah. I could do it on my own later, right?
We already had a large stock pot that J bought when he had delusions of home-brewing...in an apartment...with children...and carpet everywhere. Are you laughing yet? Me too. Anyhow, I 'just' needed to get a circular cooling rack, or a square one small enough so that all my precious jam jars didn't shatter when I put them in the hot water bath.
I checked every store I could think of; Wal-Mart, Target, called HomeGoods and even Christmas Tree Shops which I've not set foot in even though it's just down the road. No dice. Seriously, what happens if someone wants to cool a pie or a small batch of cookies? Have small cooling racks gone the way of the walkman?
After picking raspberries at Tougas this morning, upping my jam varietals to two, I decided to spring for the canning pot at the Hardware store. An extra dozen jars and a lengthy conversation with the clerk (unheard of in NewEngland) I was on my way home to sterilize and smash my way to homemade jam.
As I was filling the pot up to the recommended 4.5 inch depth, I took out the crazy looking wire rack and realized that it's slotted perfectly to hold seven quart jars. Aparrently the description on the label that says "Our mini canner is perfect for making jams, jellys and salsas" was not in reference to the product on which the label was pasted.
Feeling a little in despair, I looked at my perfectly thawed strawberries and the fresh raspberries just begging to be made jamtastic, and gave them a quick apology while I called the hardware store to see if they carry the mini-canner.
No, no they do not.
Being a fan of instant gratification, I called the woman at whose house we made the jam to see if I could borrow the tray we used that night. Oh yeah, did I explain that I was shamelessly asking to borrow the rack from her microwave?! Yes, I'm that fixated.
About a half hour later, I was gleefully entering the kitchen and what do you know? The legs on the rack stick out just far enough that it wouldn't fit in my pot. I called a couple more stores to see if I could run out, be back, and make the jam in the two hours I had left before leaving to sit for a friend. Then I called Williams-Sonoma...of course they have one in stock. But the Natick Mall is 30 minutes away without traffic, so I'll have to pick it up. Wait...is that crazy? To buy a $15 cooling rack that I'm not even sure will fit, just to rig something together instead of doing it right?
Even I know when to call it a day. I re-packaged my berries, waved farewell to the newly sterilized jars in my dishwasher, trudged up the stairs and used my amazon gift card to order a canning rack appropriate for small jars which should be here in 3-5 days.
And on the 5th day, She made jam.