The urge to bake was still going strong on Wednesday (which was my next day off), so I went shopping and got the ingredients and tools to make strawberry jam! I also had to borrow a couple pans from my mom – I needed one big enough to safely boil the jam, and another one deep enough to boil the little half-pint jars once it was time to seal them up! I’ve now got a pressure canner on my wish list… I wonder what else I can seal into little glass jars?
I’d only ever had one failed attempt at making jam before, and it was freezer jam. I’m not sure if it was the fact that it was blackberry jam, or freezer jam, or if I did something wrong, but the sugar never fully dissolved in that batch and the jam remained gritty. Not delicious. I’ve also had raspberry non-freezer jam that was homemade and not of an altogether smooth texture, so perhaps it’s just something to do with the type of berry. My recipe called for mashing the berries, which I did with a fork since I’ve packed half or so of my kitchen already. My immersion blender would have worked beautifully for this bit, but I couldn’t remember which box it was in. I’ll try that on the next batch.
The next batch will also be made while wearing elbow-height cleaning gloves, as I’ve discovered that boiling jam will make an excellent substitute should our military ever run out of napalm. I had to stir it constantly for a full minute at a rolling boil after the sugar was added, and things tend to spatter at a rolling boil. I ended up wearing one of the welding gloves I use as oven mitts for most of that step!
Aside from making a pretty decent mess, though, the jam-making went well, and all the little jars sealed up as they were supposed to! I ended up with nine half-pint jars, and I’ve already given a few away. The actual canning part was fun, and now I’m trying to figure out other flavors of jams to make or other things I could try to can. I like the idea of making my own tomato/spaghetti sauce and canning that. Suggestions are welcome!
Tuesday night my solid state drive had arrived, so I got that installed and wired up on Wednesday as well. Then there was hours of messing around with the BIOS to recognize the drive, install Windows 7 on it, go back into BIOS and get it to stop recognizing my 3TB drive as a boot drive so that I could format it and use it as one huge storage drive rather than partitioned as Windows was requiring as a boot drive. The main part that took hours was simply formatting the 3TB drive… Evidently a drive that large takes upwards of six hours or more to format!
The computer is all working as it should, now, and is wicked fast in doing everything. What impresses me the most so far is the boot/restart time compared to my laptop from 2008. I’ve been enjoying geeking out at how fast my computer is, and starting to get a few files on it. After we get moved, I’ll be working on getting all the files transferred from my old desktop and my laptop to my new desktop. I don’t have the space to set up both desktops at the same time currently, and I’ve already packed most of it anyway. All the file transfers will be quite time consuming… I think I’m going to have to transfer them over the network, since my old motherboard will not support SATA drives and my new motherboard will not support my old PATA drives.