“i see summer.”

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{homemade strawberry jam}

the past few months i’ve been bomarded with canning and preserving information. there’s something about it in nearly every magazine i get, as well as our local newspaper.

yes, the idea of homemade preserves is tantalizing in itself, but the quotation in my post title really did me in. it’s from an article from david mas masumoto, an organic farmer.

“By extending the season, I’m offered a reprieve, a second and third chance to do right. It’s like planting and harvesting a “winter crop” in August. Preserves seize the season — time in a bottle — and inspire creativity and poetry. During a school visit, I once asked sixth-graders to tell me what they saw as they examined small jars of peach jam. Most described the color and anticipated the aroma, but one bright boy, holding the jar up in the light, said, “I see summer.”

I want to see summer throughout the year and be reminded of both the joys and the challenges of this work. Farmers who live on their farms can’t hide from their mistakes, we live with them daily. Farming organically poses greater challenges — pest control treatments often are slow to act and require acute timing. Grape mealy bug, an invasive creature that leaves sticky residues on our raisins, has evaded most of my efforts; I now realize it will take years to contain it.”

i, too, want to see summer in the grey days to come.

oh, yeah, and don’t be surprised if you receive a can for the holidays. because, really, can one eat 12 jars of jam?

being a jam virgin and all, i consulted the following: l.a. times, sunset, and gourmet, all excellent resources. it was surprisingly easy. i really have no idea what i was so afraid of, and you can’t go wrong with one of ina’s recipes.

fresh strawberry jam

2 cups sugar

1 large lemon, zested and juiced

1 1/2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

Combine the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over very low heat for 10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the strawberries and continue to cook over very low heat for 20 minutes, until the strawberries release some of their juices and the mixture boils slowly. Cook until a small amount of the juice jels on a very cold plate (keep one in the freezer). Pour carefully into 1/2 pint canning jars and either seal or keep refrigerated.

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