A Couple of Tarts

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink, for dining alone is leading the life of a lion or wolf. ~ Epicurus

Monday, August 21, 2006

Summer in a Jar

I love the idea of making jam. It sounds so homey and old fashioned. My Grandma D. used to make jars and jars of it from the apricots and plums growing in her backyard. It was thick and sweet with chunks of fruit. You could eat it right out of the jar, but we spread it on the stacks of crepes she made periodically or filled the cream puffs she whipped up at the drop of a hat. The taste of these fruits, even in the raw form, still conjure up afternoons spent at her house watching cartoons. Despite all my experimenting in the kitchen, my own jam-making experience is severely limited. To be honest, I am too afraid of doing it incorrectly and giving myself or someone else food poisoning.

I started to feel a little more comfortable with the notion two summers ago on a trip out to Oregon to visit G. We spent the morning picking raspberries and then the afternoon making pectin based jam. In this version, you don't cook the fruit, the pectin does all the work of gelling it. It was tasty and beautiful in the jars and I got to bring some back with me to NYC. But still I shied away from the kind of jam where any kind of heat was involved.

That is, until Sunday. I was procrastinating yet again and reading food blogs, when I saw Pie Queen's post on making
apricot jam. With some words of encouragement from her, I tried my hand at it. And success! I now have three beautiful little jars of apricot jam sitting in my fridge just waiting to be spread on toast, mixed into yogurt, or spooned over ice cream. One jar will be off to S.'s kitchen and another might find a home with someone else because this jam has to be eaten within a month. RFC and I had some this morning and it really was like keeping summer in a jar. It was sweet, but not too, and almost the consistency of a compote. Now that I have overcome my fear of making jam (over twelve hours later and feeling fine!) I am all set to grab some plums, peaches or nectarines before the season is over. So if you have any old jars hanging around, send them my way!

UPDATE: The jam was delicious the first few days after I opened the jar, but a week later I noticed what looked like mold around the rim. Just to be on the safe side, I'm going to toss the rest of the jam. Next time, I think I need to sterilize the lids (I only boiled the jars) and let them cool upside down. Obviously, more research and testing needs to be done!


Blogger Stephanie J. Rosenbaum said...

Oh, I'm so sorry your jam jar got a little moldy! I do usually dunk my lids into the boiling water, too, just to make sure they are really extra-clean. The jam was probably fine, but I do understand the ick factor. But I hope you perservere with your jam making!

3:17 PM  

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