More than once I wanted to rant on having time. My day has come. With a long weekend ahead, a month since quitting my job, and recent murmurs in my life about who has time and who doesn't, I feel like the moment is ideal.
Time, my friends, is a finite resource. No matter how you spin it, there are still 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week. No matter how many activities you try to fit in, there is still a need for sleeping and a necessity to hold a job (for most of us). Time doesn't stretch. It is not elastic, malleable, or flexible. It ticks away in the same 60 beat per minute stroke regardless of how much you try to pack in.
So when it comes to cooking, or writing, or working out, or freaking crochet, nobody really has time and everybody actually has time. The people I am surrounded with have busy lives, each hour packed tightly, no minutes to spare, no time to breathe. There is no time for discretionary activities yet we still engage in them. Funny dilemma. How do we do that? Ready? We make time, the time we have already. We take time away from some things and dedicate it to others. We make time to see our friends and loved one, make time to keep commitments to certain activities, and make quiet time for ourselves to maintain our sanity. I don't have any more time than anyone else. I have the same 24 hours each day. How I use them is where the making time comes in.
I realized that the last month I wrote less on the blog than probably ever before. Did I not have time? Didn't I just make a whole bunch of time by quitting my job? Sure I did. But I didn't make it for this. I made it for other things. I made time to meet Pamela from MyMansBelly in Boulder. I made time to cook a whole lamb for Lulu's third birthday party. I made time to stroll the market with friends and impart each detail of braising beef. I made time for mid-day margaritas with Colorado Foodie Fest and late night drinks at Aspen Food and Wine.
And today, I made time to share with you the best I could come up with color-wise for the upcoming holiday- Raspberry Jam. It is not just the color that made me pick this today, of course. Jams are among those things that stir the flattering but annoying question 'God, how do you have time to do this?' I don't. I make it the time and the jam. So could you. Here's how.
Raspberry Jam, a recipe from an old grumpy aunt in Romania
Ingredients: 4 cups raspberries; 1 cup sugar; 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.
Wash and paper towel dry the raspberries. Put the raspberries in a saucepan and pour the sugar over them. Mix the sugar into the fruit well as to help them macerate. Let them sit for 1 hour.
Place them over medium heat and stir every couple of minutes to allow the sugar to melt and the raspberries to begin releasing some moisture. Adjust the heat down if necessary and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice and keep cooking. If you wondered why there is no pectin, it is because fruit produces pectin naturally and I just despise the use of the powdered stuff. The jam is flawless without it.
The berries will get pretty soupy. Keep stirring and cooking gently over medium heat. Time truly depends on your berries- some are very juicy, some are more dry. The juicy ones will take longer to cook to the consistency you want. Time also depends on your preference for consistency. My test has always been putting a drop of the syrupy part of the jam on a clean plate- if it holds its shape (not hard as a rock, but not too soupy), it is ready.
Place the jam in small sterilized jars. Run a butter knife along the sides of the jar all the way down to remove any air bubbles. Seal the jars and submerge in boiling water (water should cover by at least one inch). Boil for 20 minutes. When cool, push the middle of the can top in. If it comes back up, the jar was not properly sealed, which really just means you should refrigerate the jam. You can also reseal and reboil.
Serve the jam in your favorite way or just slather thin slices of baguette with homemade butter and top with a good generous serving of jam.
Photography by Jennifer Olson.