June 28 is the grand reopening of the 22-room hotel in Shadyside that was purchased by the Priory Hospitality Group last year.
For the past couple of years, I've made and canned jams. This year I planned to do the same, the same old way: Cook the jam and jar it, hot, in the canner.
But when I went to pick up fresh-picked strawberries at Trax Farms in Finleyville, a clerk steered me toward freezer jam pectin.
It uses less sugar (I'm always in favor of that) and the jam tastes more like fruit, she said. So I picked up a pack of freezer pectin and went jammin' in a new way.
Heck, what an epiphany. The strawberry freezer jam had my family singing hosannas. Since mid-June, we've pretty much wiped out 10 8-ounce jars.
I used Ball Simple Creations No Cook Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin. It's not new (having been introduced in 1994) but it was a new discovery for me.
You gently crush enough fruit to make four cups, add the pectin and 1 1/2 cups of sugar, stir and spoon into jelly jars. (You can use plastic freezer jars, made by Ball.) Pop on a cap and a band and let the jar sit for 30 minutes to thicken.
The jam freezes for up to a year and keeps for three weeks in the fridge once you thaw it.
I next tried blueberries. Pretty darn good, too, although if I repeat this one, I'll crush the blueberries a little more.
Next up to try: Peaches.
With any luck, this batch will last into fall.
Ha! Not a chance.