I’m about to let you in on a little secret…

Almost every morning, we eat toast for breakfast at the Banister house.

It’s quick, it’s tasty, and with a little peanut or almond butter, there’s a nice kick of protein with the whole grains. But my favorite part of the toast is probably the jam, strawberry jam in particular.

Whenever I’m traveling or visiting a farmer’s market, I often buy a jar or two to take back home. And while many varieties of jam have been delicious, my favorite was always from the Farmer’s Market across from my apartment in St. Paul. It was chunky and perfectly sweet with lots of fresh strawberry pieces nestled throughout, and a month rarely went by when I didn’t pick up a jar. But now that Bob is, well, 988 miles away, I decided to try making my own this afternoon.

The whole canning process is pretty intimidating with all the jars and tongs and water baths and sterilization directions. My grandma was a big fan of canning (I’ll never forget the neat rows of canned green beans and homemade cherry jam on the basement shelves), but I was too young to really pay attention. So to get around the actual canning, I just made a couple of small batches that Will and I can safely enjoy for a month, which shouldn’t be too difficult considering how much toast we eat.

I was surprised by how low maintenance the process was. With only three ingredients and a bit of time on the stove, I had fresh strawberry jam. While the verdict is still out on whether it measures up to Farmer Bob’s (it’s setting up in the fridge as we speak), I’m keeping my fingers crossed. With local strawberries in season at such low, low prices, I’m thinking it’ll be much cheaper (and tastier) than its store-bought counterpart this summer.