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In which we learn that it is safer to buy jam than to make it.

We’re really fortunate to have a beautiful blackberry plant in the backyard.

Reams Photo | Family Blog | Making Jam_0002.jpgReams Photo | Family Blog | Making Jam_0003.jpgAll summer we’ve been really enjoying the berries. Lucy loves to pick them, but even though we’ve shared basketfuls with neighbors and family, we haven’t been able to keep up with the supply. So last night, we decided to make jam.

In retrospect, this was not a good decision.

Initially, Lucy helped by choosing some Mason jars and helping us wash them.Reams Photo | San Diego | Wedding Photography | Family Blog | End of May_0082.jpgReams Photo | Family Blog | Making Jam_0001.jpgEventually, she tired of this and moved on to shucking some corn, trying to eat the silk, and then reading a book.Reams Photo | Family Blog | Making Jam_0004.jpgReams Photo | Family Blog | Making Jam_0005.jpgMeanwhile, Amy and I squeezed blackberries through cheesecloth, added pectin and lots of sugar to the mixture and started to boil it on the stove. Also, we sterilized the Mason jars by boiling them in another pot. This will be relevant later in the story.Reams Photo | Family Blog | Making Jam_0008.jpgReams Photo | Family Blog | Making Jam_0006.jpgReams Photo | Family Blog | Making Jam_0007.jpgWe stirred the mixture in the saucepan and successfully used tongs to remove a sterilized Mason jar from the big pot. Then, we successfully transferred the mixture from the saucepan to the sterilized jar and sealed it. We then successfully placed the now sealed jar back into the boiling water. And that was our last success of the evening.

After five minutes, Amy took tongs and tried to remove the completed jam from the boiling water. The tongs slipped off of the wet jar, splashing boiling water up onto her hand and dropping the jar back into the pot. Amy screamed, grabbed frozen corn from the freezer, and came out to the living room where Lucy comforted her by applying the corn to her burned hand.Reams Photo | Family Blog | Making Jam_0009.jpgReams Photo | Family Blog | Making Jam_0010.jpgReams Photo | Family Blog | Making Jam_0011.jpgWhen she saw that her mom was crying, Lucy told her, “No sad faces. Just happy faces.” And demonstrated for her.Reams Photo | Family Blog | Making Jam_0012.jpgI didn’t want Amy to burn herself again, but I also didn’t want the jam to stay in the hot water too long, so I went into the kitchen and tried to pick up the jam in the same tongs that had led to Amy’s difficulties. I was both slightly more and less successful than Amy had been. More successful: I picked up the jam jar higher before it slipped out of the tongs and back into the pot. Less successful: the ensuing splash was large enough to saturate not only my hand but also the top of my head in very hot water. Leading to me screaming a mild profanity and Lucy again applying frozen vegetables to a burned parent.Reams Photo | Family Blog | Making Jam_0013.jpgReams Photo | Family Blog | Making Jam_0014.jpgReams Photo | Family Blog | Making Jam_0015.jpg

Overall, there were three positives.
1. No one went to the hospital and Amy and I are completely recovered.
2. Lucy has not repeated the mild profanity uttered by her father as boiling water scorched his scalp.
3. We have a single jar of homemade jam.

Reams Photo | Family Blog | Making Jam_0016.jpg

On the whole, I do not think that we will be making jam again for some time. Maybe never again. In fact, I’d like to take this opportunity to recommend Jackie’s Jams-fresh, delicious, homemade jams that we bought at the Little Italy Farmer’s Market before we made the mistake of trying to make our own.

June 21, 2013 - 4:41 pm

Julie - This story is both hysterical and heartwarming. Exactly the kind of family you are. Is it OK if I aspire to be you guys?

June 22, 2013 - 5:12 pm

Grammie - I am so sorry!! BUT I do have to admit that I laughed very hard! Please do not give up jamming, you just needed a little help! Lucy, how sweet is she.

June 23, 2013 - 3:40 am

Becky - I can’t help but read your posts without smiling! You all exude joy!! How blessed your little guy will be to join such a warm, funny, dedicated, in-love-with-each-other-and-God family!!

Blessings on the journey,
Becky Keife

July 23, 2013 - 12:40 pm

George - That was one of the best stories I’ve read in awhile! My mom has been making jam for as long as I can remember and I can’t remember a funnier story. I’m sorry about your scalp and hand though. How did your one jar turn out? Good?

July 23, 2013 - 3:26 pm

Paul - Thanks, George. Hand and scalp are okay and the jam did turn out well enough that Amy is already talking about trying freezer jam next summer. Sigh. We’ll see…

August 6, 2015 - 7:13 pm

Samantha - This was so funny, Mr. Reams! Reminded me of how witty you always were in freshmen year English. I’ve sorta kinda been stalking your Facebook for the past hour hahaha (#whoops, how’d that happen?). It’s clear how good God has been in y’all’s lives. Praying for your family and your coming adoption!
–Samantha Newman

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