Earlier this month, we celebrated our tenth anniversary with an overnight trip to a rustic guest house full of charm and quiet, nestled against a scenic field of alfalfa. It was owned by an Amish couple who use it to host their own family and friends, and although we didn't have the opportunity to meet them in person, the Lady of the Place made us feel warmly welcomed with a chatty phone message that informed us about the coffee in the gas refrigerator and where to find the extra flashlight battery. I located a discreet extension cord to plug in my phone that was run from somewhere. It's funny when you stay at an Amish property, there's always an extension cord. They must all get plugged into one central outlet shared by the entire community. Anyway, we ate a delicious late supper at a restaurant without a crayon in sight. We recalled the some of our memories of the past ten years. We talked about the challenges of tearing down and rebuilding our home while living in it. The multiple unexpected health issues that arose over the years, such as the broken ankle debacle when Little Mister was two years old. Our honeymoon did not seamlessly glide into the decade that followed and we climbed many mountains together.
When we got back to our guest house, we marveled at how quiet it was despite not being far from a major road. It was the complete opposite of the sounds we are accustomed to hearing at home, situated along the raceway. I slept soundly in the deep, noiseless night, until...
What on Earth? Where is that coming from? There it goes again!
I had no idea that our guest house shared a wall with the home of a loud and lively rooster. One that had a wildly different interpretation of the time that the thing called morning begins. There, in the dark, I listened to the rooster periodically sound off just ten feet from my head. Try as I might, I never did find the snooze button for that rooster.
|The tenants next door.|
Well, I did say our first ten years was full of challenges. You didn't think I would fall into some blissful unawares full of hearts and magic on our anniversary, did you?
Later that day, when we were shopping in a bookstore, we found a suitable scripture verse to put on the wall back home. You can see a picture of it on my Instagram here.
Meanwhile, back in reality, it's peak strawberry and I'm picking morning and night, putting them up, giving them away, or selling them out. There is always a bowl of them on the counter now. This year, I tried a new recipe for strawberry jam which contains no white sugar and is the easiest AND tastiest strawberry jam I have ever cooked. I am so excited to share it with you!
Even better, it's so versatile that you can freeze or can it. It comes out fine either way.
I plan to spoon it into my yogurt, on top of ice cream, in smoothies, and use it in all the ways one can enjoy sweetened strawberries. It's so EASY and GOOD that I admit to eating it still warm in the pot with a spoon.
You don't have to believe me. Ask my food critic.
"It's perfect." - Little Mister, age 5
Strawberry Jam with Honey
yield: 6 half pints
2 quarts strawberries, cleaned and hulled
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 box pectin for recipes with no or low sugar
1 3/4 cup honey
In a large saucepan, gently mash the strawberries with a mashing tool for desired consistency. Add the lemon juice and pectin, then bring to a boil. Add the honey and bring to a rolling boil. Stir for six minutes while the jam is boiling.
Remove from heat and skim the foam. Place in containers immediately. If canning, process half pints for 8 minutes, and pints for 20 minutes.
This jam is amazing and the honey really brings out the taste of the strawberries. This is my new go-to recipe for strawberry jam.