Jammin' with June in the kitchen

June Taylor is an inspiration.  I have been enjoying her jams + preserves for many a year.   They're unusual, esoteric, exceptional...and expensive. As an artisan producer myself, I can certainly understand and appreciate why.  The fruit is of the finest quality, most of which comes directly from local growers and farmers. The method of preserving is one of painstaking labor. It's hands-on cutting, cooking, stirring, extracting and making of all natural pectin. Everything is made in small batches.  {Watch her video: how to make jam. Art in the making}.

Needless to say,  it was a great thrill for me to be to take a class with June.  She is British, which makes the class seem somehow more authentic at first blush. But, it is her gentle command of the kitchen that is most awe-inspiring.  She is deliberate, sometimes surprisingly delicate,  and clearly passionate about what and how she makes her beloved jams.  She is adamant about the science of her methods, and then in another breath, makes spontaneous decisions on the spot like an artist orchestrating a piece of art. 

My favorite lesson learned in the class was not how to make jam, but how to cut the fruit to make the jam.  Watching June remove the membranes to reveal glistening segments of citrus fruit was like seeing precious pearls being extracted from their protective shells.  There is so little fruit in the end, and every piece is treated like a piece of gold. And, rightly so.  We cut cups and cups of three kinds of fruit. We sliced and diced the pungent rinds.  We boiled and toiled until the fruit was reduced to a not-too sweet syrupy thick goodness. At the end of the day,  a mere 13 jars of jam were finally made. Precious gold, indeed. 

Isn't it sometimes the most simple of pleasures that make life easy to savor? Thanks, June. I will savor my memory of you often when I eat your jam, often.

Buon appetito!
copyright 2010 Alisa Barry

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