At the last faculty meeting, they went over plans for the renovation of the school building. The plan as it is now has me moving to sit among the first-year homeroom teachers. (I'm currently sitting with the second-year homeroom teachers.) This is rather odd, since I will not be having any classes with the first-year students or their teachers--they'll have their own Ritsumeikan-hired native English teacher--but I don't really care where I sit...I just dread moving all my stuff.
Today I got caught up on laundry, did some shopping, spent far too long browsing at the bookstore, and then had a fruity adventure.
A while back, megory mentioned that she would be interested in tasting persimmons. I'm sure she's capable of buying them herself, but I thought...here I am with a bag of persimmons that I know I won't be able to finish all on my own. Is there any way I can send some to Michigan?
Thus I came up with a plan to make persimmon jam and send that to the family for Christmas. Even if they can buy their own persimmons, they can't buy handmade-by-their-daughter/sister-in-Jap
Unfortunately, although the Japanese are all over pickling like nobody's business, they don't do much canning. Finding supplies proved to be a challenge. I searched all the local stores with no luck. I managed to track down an online supplier of scrapbook-related goods who also sold imported Ball canning jars on the side, so I had a case of those delivered. I also located a bottle of powdered pectin while shopping with wednesday_10_00 last weekend.
I tried hunting for a canner, but as far as I can tell, Japan has no such thing available. Even Japanese web pages with canning instructions just say to use regular deep pans, so that's what I wound up doing. <crosses fingers>
Today I set about making and canning the jam. I used to watch my parents can garden vegetables and such when I was little, but that was over twenty years ago. (Yeesh.) I read all the jam-canning instructions I could find in a web search, both English and Japanese. For some reason, the Japanese pages all advise turning the filled jar upside-down for about half an hour, while the English pages I read all say to make sure to keep the jar upright and never tilt it. I followed the English instructions, reasoning that at least I could be absolutely sure I wasn't misinterpreting anything.
The most reliable-seeming recipe, to my consternation, called for "a package" of pectin. (What's wrong with you? Don't you know how to use proper measurements? What if we're not using the same "package" that you are?) I searched for the package size, and it turned out to be marked as 2 oz. Converting to grams, that was twice as much as the amount in the bottle I had bought. I decided, heck with it, it won't hurt to have slightly runny jam.
Funnily enough, the Japanese instructions all say to mix the pectin in the sugar first to prevent it from forming little hard-to-dissolve balls, whereas the English instructions never mention that. It seemed like a good tip, so I tried it, and I didn't have any trouble. In fact, it was a good thing I only used half the called-for amount of pectin, because it gelled up quite well--so well that it's nearly as solid as jelly.
I'll tell you one thing, it's hard to do proper canning with a stove that only has two burners. I somehow got through the whole process, though, and I now have five jars cooling on my kitchen table. They look like they sealed okay, but I'll check them tomorrow to be sure.