7.28.2010

In a Jam

When we were at The Farm for the Buckles concert, I was completely transfixed by all of the amazing produce in the farm store. So, Ryan and I returned the following Saturday to load up. We bought:
  • 8 lbs. of shelling peas
  • 24 pts. of Raspberries
  • 24 pts. of Boysenberries
  • 3 lbs. of Rainier Cherries
  • 4 lbs. of Bing Cherries
  • 7 lbs. of Apricots

On Sunday, I shelled peas. They nearly filled my big mixing bowl, made by a lovely friend, and then went into the freezer.

On Monday, Alexis came over and we made jam out of the berries - one batch of raspberry and one batch of boysenberry. We ended up with WAY more jam than we anticipated - 40 jars! We used all of the jars emptied and saved from last year and still had to send Ryan on an emergency trip to the store to buy more jars! He came home with two cases (24 jars) and I think we used all but one or two. Forgot to take pictures of all the berry jams lined up, but it was impressive!

On Tuesday, I went to the store for still more jars and a few more boxes of pectin. I like Pomona's Universal Pectin, which allows you to use less sugar (or honey, agave, etc.). Which reminds me, I like to use unmilled organic cane sugar from the bulk bins at New Seasons.

Alexis wasn't feeling well Tuesday, and I would be unavailable Wed - Fri evenings, so I was on my own to finish jamming the rest of the fruit. As you may know, when preserving, you are working on the produce's schedule, not the other way around!

So, I got down to business and worked for 6 straight hours to pit and chop cherries and apricots and turn them into jam. I wish I hadn't been the only one home, 'cause I would love to show you the process of pitting the cherries. I used my new Cherry Chomper. It was really fun at first, but after you get through a couple lbs., it starts to get a bit tiresome. I'm sure it would be the same with any type of cherry-pitter. The best was when I was in the midst of doing the red cherries, and everything was covered in bright red juice. It was more than a little gory!


But this is the lovely result of that hard work.

From Left to Right: Ranier Cherry, Bing Cherry, Apricot


Since I didn't have enough labels for all of the jars, I labeled my half of the jars with Japanese Washi Masking Tape. I scooped it up when it went on clearance at work and I love, love, love it. (Oh, did I tell you that I got a part-time job? Working at my very fave non-fiber shop in Portland?! Yup! Been there almost 2 months!!! This somewhat explains my inconsistent posting.) I keep the tape in my kitchen drawer with a special sharpie so that we can mark goodies as they go into the fridge/freezer. It comes in all kinds of super-cute colors and patterns, and just like regular masking tape, it comes off without leaving behind any residue! Did I mention that it's really cute? For Portlanders, Collage has a great selection.


After all the jars were labeled, I packed Lex's half for her to pick up, and then rearranged the pantry to accommodate the fruits of our labor. (HA! That was for you, Dad!) The top shelf is all of this year's jams, and there will be more to come. The lower shelf is what remains of last year's jams. I think that more toast is in order, don't you?

A couple of notes:
  • Though I hoard jamming and preserving books from the library, we mostly use the recipe guide inside the box of Pomona's when making our jam. They are simple, allow for a lot of improvisation, and always yield good results. Maybe next summer I'll try some of those other fancy recipes.
  • It is good etiquette to return your empty jars when given a gift of homemade jam, pickles, canned fruit, applesauce, etc., and helps pave the way to future gifts of handcrafted foods. I didn't learn this until a couple of years ago and have kept more than my share of jars - oops!
  • I'd really be interested in hearing about you! Do you have canning memories? Favorite recipes?

4 comments:

  1. if you ever need to find a home for any of your jam. my boys bellies would be a very good place! just saying... .

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  2. My favorite canning memory is working on it for the first time with you this summer with the rhubarb! (Even if it did turn out a little funny lookin') Can't wait to make peach jams later this summer...

    R

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  3. That is a very nice stock, winter may come you are prepared....I remember when I was a little child and on visit at a big house where the sister of my grandfather lived , she was the whole summer cooking compote of the fruits of their own garden. And I was allowed choose the compote we should have for dinner.That was a hard choise, because all was so nice and I was very proud for that job.

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  4. I've only tried to make strawberry jam once, and it didn't gel. Still good, though. I'm better at making liqueurs with my fruit instead.

    so jealous that you get to work at Porch Light.

    Cheers!
    Daisy

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