Saturday, June 30, 2012


Our family loves strawberries.  We also love strawberry jam.  We have strawberry plants in the garden, but they do not supply us with enough strawberries for our jam usage.  Another missionary couple from the States lives on our side of town and grows more strawberries than we do.  Their gardener calls me each week to see if I need strawberries.  We usually buy them, wash, stem, and freeze them.  Then as we need more jam, I get them out and make jam.

Ever since our kids started eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I have been making strawberry jam.  Every spring in the states mom and dad would come to visit us in South Carolina in May.  Dad, the kids, and I would go strawberry picking.  I remember usually coming home with 9 gallons of strawberries.  Dad would wash and stem them with help from the kids.  I made lunch.  The whole afternoon was spent making jam.  I just stood in front of the stove making jam and filling jars.  I had two pans the same size for making jam.  While I stood and stirred, Dad washed the last pan I used.  He measured the strawberries out for the next batch of jam, mashed them up, and measured the sugar.  The whole day was spent picking, cleaning, and making strawberry jam. 

The last year that we lived in SC we lived near a strawberry farm.  So we just bought them already picked.  I made jam several times a week until we had what we hoped was enough jam to last us the year.

I love using Sur-Jell to make jams.  I had a friend in the states who made jams/jellies the old fashion way: no Sur-Jell.  I wondered why.  It is soooo time consuming.  Well, I packed Sur-Jell to make jam over here in Africa.  I did not pack enough!  I am not sure when I ran out but it was a long time ago.  I have been making jam ever since the old fashion way, but I am no good at it.  You use a spoon to test the doneness of the jam.  You let the jam drip off of it and the way it drips off is a way of telling if it is done.  By the time I think it is dripping the right way, it is over done.  We have caramelized jam and it doesn’t spread on bread.  I have a recipe that says to boil it while stirring for 20 minutes.  It usually is caramelized.  So when I make jam we boil it for 18 minutes.  It is a little runner than if I used the Sur-Jell, but it is what works for me.

Here are some pictures from making jam in 2008.  I love those big red strawberries.  To bad we will be missing the strawberry season in the states.





Not sure where Lane was.  I have no pictures of him helping.

Last week I made the last batch of strawberry jam for this term in Zambia.  It is the colder/dry season right now and while we are still picking strawberries, we are not getting enough to make jam.  So they are going into our oatmeal!  We might have to go buy some jam to make it to the end. Sad smile  The cheapest comes in a tin can and it very dark.  Flavor is not that great, but it will do.

God bless, Rita

Thursday, June 28, 2012

This is for Grandpa!


T the Tool Man

Tobias can actually do work and here is a picture to prove it!!

When we lived in the states, every May one of my children went to stay with Grandpa and Grandma Martin for 2 to 3 weeks.  I’m not sure how old Tobias was when he went for the first time.  I do know he was in elementary school.  Grandpa was trying to get Tobias to help him do some work.  Tobias informed Grandpa that, “He was not made to work!”  He has since outgrown this thought, thank goodness.