Thursday, April 11, 2013

Jars of Failed Jam

A friend of ours gave us a huge bag of crabapples one day. These were little fruits, the size of a cherry, but much tarter, and not so nice to eat raw. It was very nice of her to give these to us, but the question was, what were we to do with them?

There appeared, after long and careful thought, to be only one thing to do with these crabapples, and that was to turn them into crabapple jelly, which is basically jam. No matter that we hadn’t made jam before in our lives. Armed with a recipe off the internet, a bag full of crabapples and one of sugar, we set out on our big jam making adventure.

We boiled the crabapples and added copious amount of sugar. We stirred, and tried not to burn anything. We burnt ourselves, strained things, melted plastic jar lids by mistake, and generally turned the kitchen into a big, sticky mess. But, at the end of our labours, four jars of crabapple jelly sat cooling on our countertop. And we were quite proud of that. Very soon they were be cool and would have jelled and we would have crabapple jelly to eat. Mmm. We licked our lips in anticipation.

Obviously not my jam. But it does make me wonder, what is frog jam? It sounds suspicious...

Only, they didn’t jell. No matter how long they cooled, no matter how anxiously we tested those jars of jam, they wouldn’t turn into that beautiful jelly we had imagined. Still, we could always use it as ice cream topping or something of that sort. With a sigh, we pushed the jars into the back of the fridge. And there they stayed. Nasty, oversweet, yet somehow still slightly bitter, they were everything that jam should not be. For a long time they sat there until at last we threw those four jars away, hardly touched, and soon to be thankfully forgotten.

It seems that jam making is quite an art. Maybe it needs special skills. Or maybe it’s a thing that only certain people have the good fortune to be able to make. I don’t know. But if there’s one thing that I learnt from this it’s that jam making is hard work. Maybe I’ll just stick to buying my jam rather than making it. At least then it is certain to be jam and not a sticky, gloopy mess.


  1. But unfortunately sometimes the jam one buys is a strange-looking mess too. The kitchen becomes a haz-mat suit zone and all you get is 4 jars of inedible blob? Such is life, I guess. This is getting fun. Looking forward to Q,X, and Z.

    1. It is so unfair, isn't it? All that mess to clean up and nothing but those four jars of not-jam to show for it.

      I'm interested to know what I'll write for those letters too. I guess I won't know until I get there. Unless I get a sudden, unlikely flash of inspiration. Still, they're sure to be interesting posts. With those letters to go off, who could they be anything else?

  2. Replies
    1. That's true. At least now I know that jam-making and myself don't mix. Imagine if I had never tried. I'd never have learnt this important lesson.

  3. Our family jumped on the canning wagon a few years ago. Despite the abundance of berries we have growing wild around our property, I've been very hesitant to try making jam. This doesn't help. :)
    Good luck with the rest of the letters!

    1. Don't worry, I'm sure that my terrible jam is because of my terrible skills. I bet you could make jam easily. Canning sounds interesting. I haven't tried that, but I'd love to someday.