In the early hours of Heinz Probst’s 76th birthday this past weekend, he chose to spend his time selling homemade jams and jellies to hungry customers.
He and others sold their sweet creations as part of Saturday’s “Jam-boree” at Grace United Church, an annual jam sale to support the church and other charitable organizations.
In preparation, Probst was hard at work in the church’s kitchen for weeks, whipping up jams and jellies in flavours like raspberry, grape and a new Saskatoon berry.
“The big sellers are always strawberry and raspberry,” he said, adding that the sale of the new Saskatoon berry jam was “going very well.”
He said the process of making jams and jellies is rather simple but requires dedicated knowledge of old recipes.
He has been following the same recipes as long as he’s been making jam, taking a different approach from, for example, David Greaves of the Greaves jam family in Niagara-on-the-Lake, he said.
“David (Greaves) has the type that he makes and I have mine and we don’t cross each other’s,” he said.
Growing up in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Probst was involved with Grace United for years. He left NOTL for a while but moved back into town 20 years ago and has helped out at church events ever since.
Jam-making was a hobby he picked up during the constant process of teaching himself to cook.
“Pinterest has some great recipes,” he said.
Of all the jams he made for the sale, including flavours like pineapple pear, Probst reaches for the classics above all else.
“My favourite is probably strawberry,” he said.
“Any jam with plain vanilla yogurt, it makes it that much better.”
All money raised from Saturday’s jam sale will go towards helping keep Grace United Church going, as well as supporting various community organizations including Pathstone Mental Health, Women’s Place and more.