Jam

So we’re very lucky to have become friends with a lovely Home-ed family with kids similar aged to ours. The other day we met up with a plan to make Jam! I’ve never made Jam before but it sounded like a great idea. We decided it would be great to pick the fruit ourselves to give the kids experience of the whole process, so off we went to a pick your own farm.

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We settled on strawberries (because who doesn’t love strawberry Jam). The kids enjoyed selecting the right strawberries – it was interesting to watch the kids pick as each had a different standard of which ones made the cut and each had a slightly different method of working!
Yara (aged not quite 3) picked a few but was pretty content to mostly eat the strawberries.
Carys (having eaten a couple and been told that any more would give her tummy-ache – she’s fructose intolerant) picked a few and then helped Eli by transporting the picked strawberries to the basket – back and forth many times over. She loves repetitive tasks at the moment, more of that later!
Lingard (aged 5) was pretty speedy and fairly selective – mostly picking pretty ripe strawberries.
Elliot was his methodical self – once I’d explained that we needed strawberries that were red he was very intent on picking only the strawberries that had no sign of green or white flesh. This made him pretty accurate but a little slow!
Anyway, eventually we picked enough strawberries (about 2.5kg). Here’s Elliot with half of them.
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We then went for a walk around the farm looking at (and trying) all the other crops. There were blackcurrants, raspberries, gooseberries, redcurrants, apples, broad beans, peas and more. The sun was shining and it was very pleasant!

Then back to the house to make Jam. First off washing and then cutting the fruit. All the children joined in with the cutting – although the girls did the majority.
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Carys sat and cut strawberries from the first one to the last. I think the boys must have done about 12 each, Carys must have done nearly 50. So you see why I know she loves those repetitive tasks. She also loves to help and join in with whatever I’m doing. Sometimes this is lovely, and sometimes it’s a nuisance! I’m trying to learn to see her ‘helping’ as time we get to spend together, rather than as extending the amount of time it takes me to finish a job. This is sometimes difficult when there’s a hungry baby waiting!

Then onto weighing strawberries and sugar (1kg of fruit to 600g sugar for those interested)

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Elliot was watching the scales to let us know when it got to 1115 (the bowl weighed 115g). His ability to identify numbers is fab – I love how mathematical he is naturally.

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After this the pictures run out as we forgot to take them! And because the kids couldn’t really help with boiling sugar and strawberries! We added lemon juice to the jam after it had reached the right temp. Lemon Juice contains pectin which helps it to set. I did not know this!

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Plenty of time for playing outside afterwards too.

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Such a lovely day. Even though we’re not officially HE until September (when Elliot would start school) days like this remind me why I’m really glad we have chosen to. The kids learnt so much and so did I! We can all learn together and do it as and when we feel like it! šŸ™‚

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