Volunteers spent summer days and nights making thousands of jars of jams from scratch
By Chelsea Soares, P ’25, ’28, Carnival Parent Chair Jams and Jellies
Searching for seashells along the shore can be a fulfilling experience but certainly requires patience and perseverance. The jams and jellies cooking process is similar.
Timing is important and diligent preparations are necessary to ensure success!
Jams and Jellies planning for Punahou Carnival 2024 began in April 2023, just a few months after Carnival 2023 wrapped up. Student booth chairs McKenzie Arakaki, Kate Hirota, Luke Manago, and Calleigh Sasaki along with Junior parent booth chairs Calvin and Susan Mar, Eric and Cathy Tamura and my husband, Robert and myself, and our team of parent and student volunteers spent our summer days and nights making thousands of jars of jams from scratch. The entire process could not be completed without the help of countless individuals including student volunteers, parent volunteers, Punahou PFA, Punahou Cafeteria staff, and our many generous mango donors.
The jam season started in April by calling our mango donors to get a feel for when their mangoes would be ready for picking. It ended in July with us labeling and boxing our finished jars of Mango Chutney, Red Pepper Jelly, and Liliko‘i Butter to be sold at the Holiday Sale in December and again at Carnival in February.
Every year has its challenges and this year it was a lack of two main ingredients – mangoes and chili pepper paste. Many of our usual donors reported having little to no mangoes this year, and the lack of chili pepper paste was so severe it made the local and national headlines. While this impacted our production goals, it also created an opportunity for us to introduce a new jelly to the lineup. We decided on Guava Jelly, inspired from an archived recipe from Carnival 2002. Our test recipe was an instant hit with the student and parent taste testers, and we quickly got started on producing Guava Jelly for Carnival 2024.
Jams and Jellies sessions are different from volunteering at one of the fast-paced Carnival shifts. We had time to connect with fellow parents and make new friends while sitting at the table chipping mangoes (cutting them into chip-sized pieces), or flipping and wiping jars as they cooled down. As non-alumni parents, Robert and I were able to make our own memories at Punahou as Jams and Jellies Booth Chairs. We experienced firsthand the incredible support of the Punahou family. We are so grateful to have been a part of supporting our son and his classmates’ Carnival.
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