Jam session in the kitchen

When I saw strawberries on sale at the market, making jam immediately came to mind. Fresh berries in season boiling on the stovetop with a hint of meyer lemon zest and juice. mmmm. My sweetie loves jams and jellies. Ok, he loves just about anything sweet. He loves me more when I cook. Smart man. Smart me....I got cooking immediately.

I pulled up the Weck glass jars and copper jam pot from the basement, dusted and cleaned them off, and began my jam making session. It was hard to resist eating all of the sugar covered strawberries, blueberries and blackberries before they made it into the pot. They were surprisingly sweet and perfectly ripe.

The jam scented the whole house like a delicious perfume. I would walk around the house and say, what is that smell? Realizing when I walked into the kitchen, it was the jam cooking. Steam rising from the base of the pot and settling into the air like a delicious cloud of sugary sweetness. mmmm.

Jam is easier to make than you think. Ripe berries, sugar, apples {I like to make my own pectin from apples}. It takes some time, but not as much as you might think. If you have some time to peel, chop and stir, you have time to make jam.

My preserving bible is now spotted and the pages are tattered. It has been my "go to" guide since I started cooking professionally back in the late 80s. It's called Perfect Preserves and you can get it here.
I have since learn to experiment more freely, but always pick it up when the summer starts for a refresher course.

If making jam is pushing it for you in the kitchen, you can get it from one of my favorite purveyors in Northern California.
June Taylor makes incredible jams with amazingly interesting combinations of flavors .

Here is my recipe for the fresh seasonal berry jam:

12# fresh berries in season [mix and match!}
4 cups sugar
zest and juice of one meyer lemon
3/4 cup apple pectin

In a large copper or heavy bottom pot, add the berries, sugar and lemon. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the berries have reached a temperature of
Add the pectin and stir until combined. Carefully ladle the hot jam into sterilized jars.
Refrigerate and enjoy the "fruits" of your labor!

To make the pectin:
2# apples, chopped

Heat the applies with 6 cups of water. Boil over medium high heat for about 30 minutes, or until apples are soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Place a bowl under the colander to catch the liquid. Prepare a cheese cloth liner over a colander.
Strain the apples and tie the ends of the cheese cloth. Hang it up overnight so that the remaining liquid can drain into a bowl.
That is your liquid gold! Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Buon appetito!
copyright 2009 Alisa Barry

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