Last weekend my friend and I spent a fabulous morning at a jam making class at the Green Briar Nature Center in Sandwich on Cape Cod. This post isn’t exactly a green tip, but rather a description of class that is a true throwback to an era when life was slower and simpler, a time when you cooked with ingredients you or your neighbors grew, a time when people took the time to talk to one another without smart phones, without Facebook, without Twitter.
The Green Briar Nature Center is located in a charming old house near a pond and adjacent to the famous Briar Patch of the Thornton Burgess’s children’s stories. There are nature trails, a spectacular wildflower garden and a natural history library. The center also offers year round weekly jam making classes in an old-fashioned, turn-of-the-century (and I mean the 20th century!) kitchen. The recipes are the originals from the early 1900’s; we made cranberry hot pepper jam. The cranberries were local and came from the farm next to ours in East Sandwich. The ingredients and jam making utensils were nicely laid out for each participant.
My friend is an expert jam maker, but even for a novice like me it was easy. Friendly volunteers guided us through each step, making sure when the jam was ready to be jarred, we did it correctly. Lined up one right after the other, we chopped and stirred, talked and learned about each other’s lives, and asked questions of the more experienced jam makers. It reminded me of the old quilting bees when woman would gather and sew and chat. In this jam making class, men participate too.
What a pleasant respite from the hustle, bustle of the holiday season and a special way to spend time with a friend. What a lovely gift homemade jelly makes! The center also has a gift shop with more homemade jams and jellies as well as other handcrafted items. I can’t think of a greener holiday gift than a morning at an authentic jam making class! Visit www.thorntonburgess.org for more information.