Strawberry Jam

A couple weeks ago, I shared that I was looking forward to making some strawberry jam using this recipe, and I’m happy to report that I made strawberry jam! It's hard to beat homemade jam on a warm biscuit!

 
 

I’ve made strawberry freezer jam in the past, which turned out well. Using this recipe, it is fairly simple and doesn’t require pectin. When I made it, I used lemon juice for half the batch and lime juice for the other half. Both worked well, and I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for an easier jam recipe.

I decided to go with a more traditional canning method for this batch for a couple of reasons. First, my current freezer/refrigerator is smaller and doesn’t utilize the space as well as many newer ones, so I just don’t have much space in my freezer. I’ll also start making and freezing pesto soon, and I need plenty of space for that (plus, I have to have room for the essentials, read: ice cream). Also, it is nice to give the occasional jar of homemade jam to friends or neighbors, and it’s more of a hassle to give away a jar if it needs to stay cold.

I have my grandmother’s old canner, but it is at my parents’ house until we have more space in our kitchen to store it. I think it would have been much easier with the canner, but I used pots of boiling water, and it worked fine.

I used the Pioneer Woman’s Strawberry Jam recipe as a starting point, but made a couple of changes. For example, her recipe calls for 7 cups of sugar, and I only used 5, which still seems like a lot. The berries I used were naturally really sweet, but if they weren’t, I would have considered using a bit more sugar. Here’s the recipe I followed.

Strawberry Jam

  • 5.5 cups hulled and mashed strawberries

  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice

  • 7 T pectin

  • 5 cups sugar

Yield: 8 mason jars (8 oz.)

Place the mason jars in a large hot water bath canner (or pot). Cover with water and bring to a simmer. Simmer the center lids in separate saucepan full of water.

Place the mashed strawberries and lemon juice in a separate pot. Stir in the pectin until dissolved. Bring the strawberries to a strong boil.

Add the sugar (measure beforehand so you can add it all at once), and then return the mixture to a full boil that can't be stirred down. Boil hard for 1 minute 15 seconds. Skim foam off the top.

Remove one jar at a time from the simmering water. Pour water back into the pot. Using a wide-mouth funnel, fill each jar with jam, being careful to keep the liquid/fruit ratio consistent. Fill the jars so that they have 1/4-inch of space at the top. Run a knife down the side of the jar to get rid of air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jar with a wet cloth to remove any residue or stickiness.
Remove the center lid from the simmering water and position it on top.

Put screw bands on jars, but do not over tighten! Repeat with all the jars, and then place the jars on a canning rack and lower into the water. Place the lid on the canner, and then bring the water to a full boil. Boil hard for 10 to 12 minutes.

Turn off the heat and allow the jars to remain in the hot water for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove the jars from the water using a jar lifter, and allow them to sit undisturbed for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, remove the screw bands and check the seal of the jars. The center lids should have no give whatsoever. If any seals are compromised, store those jars in the fridge. Otherwise, fill your pantry with your newly canned goodness.

I initially thought not using a canner would make this process really difficult, but it was only slightly more tedious and only added about 15 minutes onto my cooking and prep time. When the recipe calls for using a jar lifter, I used kitchen tongs, and they worked fine. I also used the Pioneer Woman's cooking notes to make sure I sterilized my jars correctly.

 
 

After this, I'm feeling inspired to make some more homemade jam this summer. I'd love to hear any and all recipe recommendations or canning tips!

 
 

Weekend Getaway: Asheville

We’re heading to Asheville, NC later this month for Sarah’s bachelorette party. I’ve actually spent a decent amount of time in Asheville the past few years, and since graduating college, I’ve probably visited about 2-3 weekends per year. It is such a beautiful area and the town itself is a ton of fun!

You can’t go to the mountains of North Carolina without doing some hiking or other outdoor activity. I like to visit the North Carolina Arboretum or find a trail in the Pisgah National Forest. Bonus - Both hiking options are either near or located off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, so it’s nice to relax after a hike by cruising down the Parkway while enjoying the spectacular views.

There are two things you can’t miss while you’re in Asheville.

  1. A visit to the Grove Park Inn for sunset cocktails on the terrace.

  2. Brunch! Along with everyone and their brother, my two favorite brunch spots are Early Girl Eatery and Tupelo Honey Cafe, but the city offers lots of other delicious brunch options.

Sarah’s bachelorette party won’t be the first one I’ve attended in Asheville, but it is the first one I’m planning. I have a tendency to re-visit my favorite places without branching out. I've drafted a tentative itinerary, but other than dinner reservations at The Junction, we're not tied to any plans. I'd love any and all suggestions for your favorite places to check out in Asheville!

 
 

 

 

Friday Favorites

  • Google applications can be so handy and useful, but there were several shortcuts that I realized I wasn't using. You don't know what you don't know...
  • Is there anything better than coffee and chocolate? (Hint: No.) If you're like me, then you've got tons of extra Easter candy around. I stumbled across this "eggspresso" idea a few weeks ago, and I'm thinking I might need to put a few of my chocolate eggs to the test.
  • Party planning can be so fun! I'm in the very initial stages of planning Sarah's bridal shower and stumbled upon the worst list of bridal shower themes. Pancakes and Panties, anyone? My great aunt would really enjoy that one. 
 
 
  • Does anyone remember watching A Little Princess? That movie was on repeat in our house from from 1995-1998. Even though Sarah hated it, it was my favorite movie for a solid few years. I still love a classic rags to riches storyline. Sarah dug this up earlier this week. Who knew that Liesel Matthews (now Leisel Pritzker Simmons), who plays the main role of Sara in the film, comes from the eighth wealthiest family in the US? She's come a long way since 1995, and I think Sarah is happy that she left the big screen. 
  • Entertainment Weekly did a first look into Season 8 of Gilmore Girls. So. Many. Feels. Need we say more?
  • Old Navy has been killing the game lately. It's always my one of my first stops when looking for staple wardrobe items, but occasionally I feel like I really score big during one of their sales. Check out a few of my favorite spring transitional pieces down below! You can get an extra 20% right now with their code BIGSAVE.
 
 

Friday Favorites

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Barre with Art with a friend and had such a great time that I'm heading back this weekend. If you're in Lexington and are a fan of barre, art, or mimosas (or all three), this event makes for a fun Saturday morning with girlfriends. At $10 for a full barre class and a mimosa, grab your mat and head to 21c!

Navy, stripes, and tassels! This looks like the perfect tee to throw on this weekend.

 
 

If you've been following along with us for a little while, then you know we are fans of podcasts. Several of these podcasts are currently on queue.  

Last spring, I spent a lot of time re-landscaping our backyard, and this year, I'm hoping to work on my container gardening game. The great thing about container gardening, especially if you live in an apartment or are planning to move sometime during the next several months, is that you can transport your the fruits (maybe even literal fruits) of your labor. If you didn't catch the section in April's Southern Living, this slideshow provides lots of container gardening inspiration.

Sarah jetted off to sunny LA yesterday. Follow along on Instagram!

In case you missed it earlier this week, Laura dished about her first experience with StitchFix and Sarah shared some Louisville events to keep on the radar. Happy weekending!

 
 

Stitch Fix

 

One of my favorite things about living in Kentucky is the fact that we have four distinct seasons, and I’m giddy at the start of each new season. When the weather changes, I start to long for wardrobe changes as well, and I’ve been known to go on some major shopping sprees around this time of year. 

After talking to some friends who use Stitch Fix, I decided to give it a try. I’m always skeptical of subscription services until I’ve talked to a few people who’ve actually tried it, but I heard some pretty great things about Stitch Fix. On one of the first warm days when I started online shopping, I decided against purchasing yet another navy spring dress and pair of nude flats and headed to Stitch Fix to set up a profile. I figured that it could help me try a few new items that I wouldn’t normally pick up. Also, knowing that my package was arriving in a couple weeks definitely helped curb my desire to fill my shopping cart.

Setting up a profile was really easy. I liked that I could share which cuts of clothing are most flattering for my body and what I’m comfortable wearing. I also appreciated that there are numerous opportunities to share with your stylist what styles, colors, and types of clothing you prefer and link Pinterest boards to your profile. Fingers crossed that I can put together some outfits half as cute as my Pinterest “Style” board. 

This pink shirt from Stitch Fix was the perfect top for a casual Easter brunch with family this weekend. Thankfully it was flowy and Forgiving because I definitely indulged! 

This pink shirt from Stitch Fix was the perfect top for a casual Easter brunch with family this weekend. Thankfully it was flowy and Forgiving because I definitely indulged! 

So here it goes... my first experience with Stitch Fix.

  1. Navy Jacket - In my note to my stylist, I specifically requested a spring jacket. I would definitely keep this jacket except I already have one that’s almost identical. I guess my stylist was just too good.
  2. Striped Tee - I wanted to like this shirt because it is really comfy, and I liked the cut. However, I didn’t love the color on me. Also, this looks like something I would pick up on sale at Gap or Target, and I thought the $48 price tag was a little steep for this tee.

  3. Jeans - I was shocked that these fit really well and were really comfortable! I always struggle to find pants and jeans that fit well. However, the wash on these jeans weren't my favorite, so they went back.

  4. Pink Shirt - This was a hit! I paired it with white cropped jeans and wore it to a casual Easter brunch this weekend, and I think it is work appropriate as well as something I can wear to a to happy hour or dinner with girlfriends. I probably wouldn’t have picked this if I saw it in a store, but I really like it!

  5. Pencil Skirt - Another hit! I wear lots of navy, so I have plenty of tops and accessories that coordinate well with this skirt. I liked the polka dots for a little bit of flair. I already wore this piece too, and I paired it with a mint green top and navy Kendra Scott Rayne necklace for work.

 
I'm sporting my new pencil skirt in this post-workday, slightly wrinkled outfit selfie. 

I'm sporting my new pencil skirt in this post-workday, slightly wrinkled outfit selfie. 

 

This post is not sponsored by Stitch Fix. I just wanted to share my experience because it was something I was curious about for a while and thought some of you might be as well.