Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Inspired by my 'A' grade on my baking practical exam on Saturday (yay, me!) I decided to dip into the possibilities of a lovely book I had checked out from the library after seeing it, and it's author, praised so highly on my favorite food blog, Chocolate & Zucchini.

The book, Mes Confitures: The Jams and Jellies of Christine Ferber, is a treasure trove of delightfully unusual (you guessed it) jam and jelly recipes. The recipes are arranged by season, so on Sunday I eagerly read the spring suggestions, settling on a rhubarb and Granny Smith apple concoction, jazzed up with a cup of Gewurztraminer wine.

A quick outing to Pike Place Market netted me the required ingredients, which I peeled, diced, combined and left in the refrigerator in a parchment paper-covered bowl to macerate overnight.

On Monday, a quick lunchtime outing to Sur la Table netted me jam jars and other jam-making necessities that added up to 10 times the cost of the ingredients. Yikes!

That evening, I drained the juice, boiled it down slightly, then added the fruit to boil for several more minutes. Then, I ladled them into my new, sterilized jars, twisted on the caps, and turned them upside down to set the seals. I opted not to do the hot-water bath treatment on the sealed jars, as is the norm in this country. Jam is a low-risk food, and it is the European custom to simply place the boiling hot jam in hot, sterilized jars, seal them quickly, and call it good. I decided that was good enough for me.

The jam looks lovely, all shades of pink and red and pale green. I'll let it stay in its jars for a few months to allow the flavors to continue to mingle. In the meantime, I am practially salivating for local strawberry season. I have in mind some strawberry-rhubarb jam, and the enticing strawberry-mint-black pepper concoction. Yum! And then there's summer, with apricots and nectarines and raspberries...oh, my!

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