Like all couples I assume, there are qualities that I love about my partner, and qualities, that well, nicely said, are a little harder to live with. My problem though, and this I believe is what makes this case unique, is that one of the qualities that I find so hard to live with, is the one that I have the most appreciation and respect for.
My husband is a saver. In Hebrew his name comes from the root, “to collect”, so it is no wonder that he is the way he is. He will not throw anything out until it absolutely no longer works. There is no such concept with him to replace something old, just because it’s old, as long as it still works. Example: we had an old couch (it was our first purchase together as a couple, 9 years ago), that was tattered and stained from years of living, moving and yes, dogs. I finally was able to convince him to get a new couch, but he couldn’t bear to throw the old one out. It moved to his parents’ house (where he received his M.A. on conserving), and recently he suggested we move it into the new house that we are moving into come September. When we lived in Tel Aviv I had to physically stop him several times from bringing other peoples trash that they left on the street, into our homes. I’m all for vintage, but the kind that you buy at the flea market.
I came from a whole different universe, where it was “out with the old and in with the new”. My childhood in Los Angeles was characterized by the abundance of new stuff. The newest bag, the newest car, the newest gadget. Living with Mr. Collector of Old Stuff has been a challenge to say the least, but in our ten years now of living together, I have grown to respect the logic that goes into his behavior. He doesn’t only care about his pocket, but he really does cares about the wellbeing of the world. He is unaffected by life in a consumerist world and doesn’t need much in life to make him happy, therefore the need for new material items is in general a non-issue.
And so, after these ten years, although at (most) times I get frustrated by his quality, I actively try to find ways where I, Mrs. Wants New Stuff, can find ways to move closer to his worldview. Recently, his dad came to me with a large bucket of grapes that he had just picked from the vine in their backyard, that tasted delicious but didn’t look that good, and asked me whether or not I wanted them. I looked at them, and my first thought was to say, “Nah, you keep them”. But the answer that rolled off my tongue was, “Sure, and I’ll make some jam”.
And so it was, that evening, in my kitchen, I turned something that I would’ve thought of as trash, into something delicious. Thanks Mr. Collector of Old Stuff.
I used gently bruised and battered grapes, but this will work just fine with supermarket bought ones-red and green, but just make sure that they are seedless. The grapes I used were a bit tart; if you are using very sweet grapes, then use a little bit less sugar.
Ingredients for around 3 cups:
2 pounds (1 kilo) seedless grapes, washed and dried
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 pound (500 grams) sugar
1. Place the grapes and lemon juice in a large pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Add the sugar, increasing to medium to heat until coming to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 2-3 hours.
2. To check to see if the jam is ready place a small amount of jam on a cold plate and then transfer to the freezer for 2-3 minutes. When you take it out of the freezer, make a line with your finger through the jam. If the line remains, the jam is ready to be poured into the jar. If not, return to heat and retest.
Tips for canning:
– Don’t use jars with any cracks or chips.
– Place the jar in a large pot filled with hot water until submerged and bring the water to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, turn off the heat and leave the jar in the water.
– Using tongs- lift the jar from the pot and place on a clean kitchen towel to fully dry.
– Pour jam into jar, filling up to a ¼ inch (½ centimeter) from the top. Wipe the rim.
– Place the lid on and secure tightly. Place the jar into a large pot filled with hot water until submerged and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes and then remove the jar from the water.
– Using tongs, carefully lift the jar from the pot and place on clean kitchen towels for 24 hours.