Making Jam The Old Fashioned Way

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.

Making Jam at the Green Briar Nature Center

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 for more information.




4 responses to this post.

  1. This is by far my favorite post ever! Thanks so much for the information on a lost art.
    Happy Holidays!


  2. Posted by Tudy on December 13, 2012 at 2:14 am

    This is such a pleasant email to read, Betsy… the idea of gathering together to learn from each other and to build a community- the photos enhance the already ‘good feeling’. Hooray for Sandwich and it’s residents. When I was there in Sept with our friends ( and the B& B was excellent, owned by the gay couple, on the bend of the road- can’t remember the name), we stopped by Thornton Burgess’ house and enjoyed hearing a story read to a local class. David and I will spend Christmas with Sarah in Austin; I assume Pete will be with you. Love to you and Peter, Tudy



  3. I love it – what a wonderful idea. Maybe I should hold classes for canning one of these days. And how nice you could get out of the routine of your life during this busy and hectic time of year.


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