I have said it time and time again, the kitchen is my favorite spot in our little home. I relieve stress by creating messes, making yummy meals, and pouring love into slow food. It brings me joy to get my hands dirty and make something unique and delicious. I just love it. I also really love having people experience that joy alongside me. I often ask Ben to help me in the kitchen, and every time I have high expectations that we will giggle, make memories, and be all flirtatious while whipping up something amazing at the same time.
REALITY CHECK. That is not how this particular story goes (or many others when we have been in the kitchen together).
Over the weekend I asked Ben to help me prep the strawberries for jam, and to help me with the canning process since it was my first time trying it. He agreed and joined me, all was well (so far at least). We got all the berries washed, hulled and sliced and I began to make the jam. Country music was blasting, we were singing along and having a good time! Then came canning. If you have never tried canning before you should know, it can be done with one person but is easier as a two man job, and is kinda stressful since there are so many steps and such hot liquid being handled. This being said, stresses were high, and suddenly I was slinging jam everywhere, bossing Ben around, and getting frustrated. Ben was quickly pushed to frustration as well, and there we were silently pushing through the canning of all the jars so we could be done with our kitchen time together. So much for giggling and flirting huh...
Well, needless to say we had a little argument that surprisingly flourished into a really honest conversation. We were able to both express some hurts that went much deeper than strawberry jam and messes in the kitchen. I am a deep feeler and emotional lady, while Ben is an engineer seeking to live life in an efficient and systematic way, we both can appreciate the other's personality, and love those qualities about one another...but sometimes they just collide in a really ugly way. This honest talk was a building moment for our marriage, and honestly a memory made nonetheless. I have struggled to really "fight well" in our marriage and this conversation served as one small little milestone of progress in this seemingly constant struggle. I was able to rely on the Spirit to stay calm, talk rationally, and actually hear my husband voice his hurts. I was able to recognize that the conversation was not a battle to be conquered or a hill I must die on, I was able to keep a clear head and view it with better understanding than normal. I was frustrated, controlling, and somewhat inconsiderate during the kitchen fiasco but the talk afterwards was a sweet one. Significant ground was covered, and some essential marriage foundation was laid. And you know what?! I attribute all that ground covered to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and this Strawberry Jam. So let me share it with you!
Makes 12 half pint jars
Prep Time - 25 minutes
Cook Time - 15 minutes
- 7 1/2 cups of strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
- 6 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 49g package of powdered fruit pectin
- 10 cups of sugar
- 1/2 cup basil leaves roughly chopped
- In a food processor add 2 cups of the sugar and the basil leaves, blitz to combine until the leaves are small and the sugar is a lovely shade of green. Set aside.
- Pour sliced berries onto a cookie sheet or cutting board, mash with potato masher until chunky and slightly broken up. Add to a large pot over medium high heat. Add lemon juice and stir.
- Bring berry mixture to a boil then add pectin and stir.
- Pour all sugar in at once. Stir until incorporated and bring mixture to a hard boil until it reaches 220 degrees. Allow to hard boil for 1 minute and 25 seconds then remove from heat.
- Follow canning procedure, and gift to friends and family!
This jam is a really loose set jam, and tastes so interesting. I do not know why I have never thought to pair strawberries with basil before, but they compliment one another so well. I recommend this jam spread over buttermilk biscuits or plain scones...so delightful.
So there you have it, this will always be the jam that broke the kitchen tension Ben and I always seemed to have, and we were able to cover tremendous ground in our marriage because of it. Praise the Lord for his unique way of sanctifying us y'all! He will get us to pay attention in the most random and attention grabbing ways, Amen?!
What little things have led to big conversations in your life? Are you a Jam or Jelly person?