Last week I helped my parents pack boxes and move out of the house they've lived in for the last 15 years. It's always sad to see the house empty. The furniture is gone, the walls are bare and the house echoes. It doesn't feel much like a home without the familiar comforts of home.
Moving is disruptive and exhausting and often bittersweet. I should know. I've moved 10 times in the last 10 years. It's pretty ridiculous that I move more than my brother, who is in the military.
In the midst of all my moving, I've always known that I had my parents' house in Colorado as my home or home away from home. I think that's why I'm so sad that it's gone. It has been my constant over the last 15 years. I just moved into a new apartment that doesn't quite feel like home yet. And now I don't have a home to go back to.
And all that brings us to homemade jam. (It's connected...just keep reading.)
I've never canned anything before. In fact, I've never had a desire to can anything. My grandparents used to can EVERYTHING and I saw what a long and laborious process it was. Buying canned goods from the store was fine by me.
But I found myself with pounds and pounds of grapes and making jam seemed like the best solution.
The grape vines in my parents' backyard yielded an abundance of grapes this year. The weather was hot and dry during the day and cooled off a night, so we had great grape growing weather. This particular vine only produced fruit every other year. A few years ago, bugs ate all the grapes. The only other time we had a useable harvest, my Mom made grape jam. I've been watching the grapes grow all summer and as my parents prepared to leave their house, I decided to take the grapes with me. Pounds and pounds of sweet grapes.
But what to do with pounds of green grapes? They weren't great for eating...I'm not the biggest fan of eating grapes with seeds. Plus, I wouldn't be able to eat them fast enough. They were ripe and ready to be used.
I left them in my fridge during my trip to Seattle and Saturday, after saying goodbye to the house, I decided to make jam.
Jam is hard work. It involves skinning the grapes, cooking them, removing the seeds, cooking the mixture again, canning, etc. I spent hours and hours doing all of this. Even though I wasn't too excited about making the jam, I didn't want to waste the only piece of the house we had left--it's fruit.
I made two types of jam--one is sweet, grape jam. I added in green tabasco sauce to half the mixture to make more of a pepper jam. I plan to use it on meats or with cream cheese on crackers. The pepper jam is my favorite. I love how the spicy flavor of the tabasco cuts down on the sweetness of the jam.
My jam isn't the most beautiful thing in the world. It looks a little like slime or ooze, but it tastes delicious. I'll enjoy it as I try to make my new apartment feel more like home. And I'll remember what my Mom said as we left the house, "This is just a house. Home is where your family is."
PS. I haven't stopped knitting...I have a few projects on my needles that I'll be sharing with you soon!