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Last night, a typical kitchen adventure/mistake occurred. It made me think that I should have just been completely honest and name my blog “What Not To Do At Home” instead of Practicing Jane…the actual name makes you think I’m getting somewhere. Really, I’m probably going to post about what I messed up on than actually succeed at doing around the house. So I got home kinda late, maybe 11 p.m. and realized I still had not done anything with the 2 packs of strawberries I had in the fridge (Harris Teeter lured me with Buy 1, Get 2 free last week). I wanted to make jam but did not have pectin (or jars). Freezing them for later use was fine with me so I thought I would do each pack a different way outlined in my Better Homes and Garden Cookbook.

Dry freeze, simple syrup, sugar-packs…all the different ways for strawberries. Well apparently I got confused with instructions for preserving fruit other than berries. I did steps 1 and 2 which told how to blanch your fruit. If I had paid attention to the chart (let’s blame the late night hour?), I would have seen the direction to start at Step THREE with strawberries.

I start boiling a big pan of water while washing and hulling my strawberries. (Hull makes me think I should core them, but I just cut the tops off). I throw them in, look at the instructions which say to start timing as soon as you put the lid on. I start looking back to find the time for strawberry cooking when then I see the Start at Step 3 part. Cooking strawberries? Why did I think that was ever a good idea? Well, I think, surely, there is something people do with boiled strawberries. You do that for SOME recipe…it’s out there. I start googling while the redness is blanching away. I look at few sites with strawberry recipes. No. You can boil the jars. You can boil sugar and pectin or even some lemon juice. Boiling the berries is not something people do for anything.

Now I am not someone to waste food (or anything for that matter). I will find a way to right this wrong, I tell myself! BTW, boiling strawberries leaves you with white mushy berries in red water. J.E.L.L.O. to the rescue! I knew there was a reason I have 12 boxes in the pantry. Just for this occasion! I thrown in a box of strawberry and a box of lime because there is a whole lot of water and Strawberry Limeades work for Sonic. I use a potato masher to mash up the berries, just to make a grosser mess of things, stir up the gelatin, and pour into 2 pans. They are almost filled to the brim as I put them in the fridge. At least I like Jello with fruit, I think.

This morning, I open the door, and everything is still a-jigglin’. Apparently the Jello:water ratio was not correct for it to set. I closed the door and thought, “I’ll give it the weekend to set.”