A SERIOUS JAR.
If Jem is the same as Jim,
And G sounds the same as J,
Then between a Gem, and Jim, and Jem,
What is the difference, pray ?
We read about Gem Jars, —
Jars made for holding jam.
Then, are these Gem jars jim jam jars?
(Be calm, my mind, be calm.)
– The Popular Speaker 1885
Few of the rising generation remember the world before the “gem jar,” but the middle aged remember with sorrow the many golden summer hours of their youth spent in holding down the refractory paper while an elder member of the family wasted strength
and energy on getting the string round the top in the tightest manner possible.
First on the list came the white paper, all neatly notched round, dipped in brandy. Sometimes, for scientific reasons unknown to the writer, a few grains of granulated sugar were sprinkled on this. Then came the outer covering of thick brown paper, likewise notched, and then the string, which often broke at the trying moment of the final tug.
The white pound pot is still on many a storeroom shelf. It is well to make use of it. Buy a package of very best toilet paper. Cut two rounds for each of your pots, each round large enough to overlap an inch. Have ready a saucer of milk, which, by the way, had better be boiled first to destroy all micro-organisms. Dip the paper in the milk one round at a time, for if left soaking in the milk it will become too pulpy. Cover each pot with a sheet and in about five minutes, when that has slightly dried, put on a second. These will form a sort of parchment, and your jam will keep excellently. The writer speaks from the experience of years.