Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Heart is Where the Homeland Is

This weekend Jeff and I made an impromptu visit to South Western Ontario to visit my family.  We had big picnic plans, including a bucket (or two) of Dixie Lee Fried Chicken and my Grandma's famous Mashed Potato Salad.  

Driving through these parts, the farmland beautiful and hilly, has changed for me recently.  Growing up near London, I all-but ignored it, having seen it all a million times.  But now I see how lovely it really is.  Ramshackle barns and tilting silos, corn peeking up from the soil.  It's all kind of magical now.

Driving along these roads, you quickly notice that it's strawberry season.  There's something about the sweet little berries that grow locally in June.  No giant genetic alterations, nothing much larger than a cherry.  And the  colour!  A reddish orange, not that California-import-red-dye-number 5-truck-ripened shade.   

So I decided I'd try my hand at some good old fashioned Strawberry Freezer Jam.  My Great Grandma used to make it, and I have such fond memories of its delivery each summer.  I'd eat the whole jar, thinly-spread over white-bread-toast, in no time flat.  

I bought several pints of berries (picked the day before, so they were nice and ripe) and stocked-up on my Certo fruit pectin.  The whole thing, while sticky, is remarkably easy.  No cooking, no painstaking stirring-over-heat, this is not for the real jam enthusiasts - this is for my low-maintenance/high-impact readership.  Enjoy!

Strawberry Freezer Jam

2 pints of berries (Should be 4 cups, chopped and mashed lightly)
1 box of Certo fruit pectin
4 cups of white sugar

Hull your berries.  Mash them into a delicious chunky pulp and slowly stir in the pectin.  Allow this to sit for 30 minutes.  Add in all that glorious white sugar, stir until blended and dissolved.  Pour into jars and allow to set-up for 24 hours at room temperature.  Then they're good to go - 3 weeks in the fridge or up to a year in the freezer.  Seriously.  That's all there is to it.  (For one batch, I added a cup of mashed banana.  Strawberry Banana Jam!  Truly outrageous.)


  1. Down right brilliant photography yet again, Jason! I'm posting about food styling tomorrow and this is another example where such styling has inspired me to decorate. Glad you had a good weekend. Will

  2. i never ever ever get tired of seeing your photographs. you even make bottles of strawberry jam look good.

    question - have you ever thought of selling some of your food images as prints? i for one would certainly frame and hang one in my kitchen... there are tons of people who sell their images on etsy....you probably don't have the time - but just a thought....no mailing involved either? just send the hi-res file...have i convinced you yet? lol.

  3. Wow, thanks friends!

    Will - You should check out Honey and Jam! Her blog is the best. Check my sidebar. She can style/photograph her food like nobody's business.

    Kay* - Nah, I have not. Most of the time I take quick photos of food (before I eat it) and then bastardize the files by shrinking them down to blog-friendly sizes. And then delete the originals.

    I need a new camera, truth-be-told. The resolution on this one is just so old-schoooool.

  4. So much blog lovin' goin' on here. I agree with Will AND Kay. Jason, you know I'm heading up the Jason-on-Etsy Committee. I love it all.

  5. Yes, Tommy heads up the committee and I'll be the co-chair.

    Just give us the word Jason lol....

  6. "The heart is where the homeland is" - that is a line to savour.

    I feel a similar sense of (is it?) nostalgia every time I drive from Fredericton to the north shore of New Brunswick. Having ensconced myself in an urban setting for well over a decade, I've developed a renewed appreciation for the rural.

    I love the image of the solitary tree - so alone, so still. It conjures an incomporable calm.

  7. Having grown up in the same neck of the woods, this post really brought a tonne of memories flooding back. I remember driving around the countryside as a kid and actually recognizing the beauty.
    Having lived in the city now for more than half of my life I sometimes forget about the beauty of dusk in rural Ontario. Thanks for the reminder.

    Also, I'd like some jam.

  8. Jason,
    I am nuts about your photography. Really splendid! The landscape pictures are marvelous, and the ones of the strawberries and jam are exceptional! Keep up the good work. Reggie

  9. Thanks Teejers.

    Thanks Reggie!
    Glad you're still following.

  10. Your jam sounds YUMMY! Delila and I are going to make it! Miss you guys....xo Leann
    PS- LOVE what you have done to the Bunkie!

  11. I can't believe I haven't commented on this post - I keep coming back to it. Those first three photos are pure magic.

  12. Hannah! Means much coming from you, dollface.

    Kathleen - so nice! Thank you.

  13. "Growing up near London, I all-but ignored it, having seen it all a million times. But now I see how lovely it really is."

    I grew up about 45 minutes or so outside of Philadelphia. I always thought of the city as too busy and big and scary (generally because the only time we went was to do busy, big, touristy things and "busy" and "big" have always scared me). When I worked in the city and lived there for a year--albeit 10 to 15 years post my time spent there as a kid--I grew to love it in such a new and special way. Whenever I visit now my heart aches for the time I spent there...who I was when I was there in my 20s. A city I always thought wasn't worth the time is one I feel I've never had enough time in...