Saturday, August 21, 2010

We jammin'

My mom often jokes that I was born in the wrong decade. Based on my tastes in music, clothes, and decor, she says the 60's would have been a good time for me. She of course is referring to the 1960's. However lately I've been thinking the 1860's may not have been so bad either, as I have decided to take on a new hubby in the form of food preserving. (very Little House on the Prairie)

The idea started the other week when my friend Sibylle and I decided to start cooking more on the weekends and freezing the extras. We'd made gazpacho and pesto and were searching for other food ideas. I had been wanting to make my own jam for a while, so we starting looking for recipes online. This of course also brought up links to storing homemade jam. Immediately we were excited about the idea of making and jarring our own jams and preserves. A quick check on the Martha Stewart website brought up a 10 minute how to video, at which point we realized we may be in a little over our heads. There was some equipment we were going to need to purchase (thermometers, funnels and tongs - oh my!). Then there is the whole issue of needing everything to be uber sterilized. And all this before we even knew if the jam we make would be any good! So I decided to take the endeavor in baby steps. Step 1, was to just make a small batch of jam...

So last Saturday I walked over my local fruit market and picked up a HUGE container of blueberries. They were insanely cheap, about $4 for 4 pints. When I got home I immediately stuck half of them in the freezer (which is quickly being filled with some fantastic items!). The remaining berries (about 2 cups worth) got put in a small pot and sprinkled with a bit of sugar. This is the great thing about making things from scratch. You get to control every single ingredient. I don't like super duper sweet jams, and most of the recipes I found on the internet called for a large amount of sugar, so I just used less! Next was to bring the berries up to a boil, then turn down the heat and slowly simmer for about 45 minutes, until the mixture had thickened. I let it cool slightly in the pot, then transferred into a tupperware container. Once it was completely cooled it went in the fridge for me to start enjoying! And let me tell you - It. Is. GOOD! Fantastic on plain bread, or a small drop added to plain nonfat yogurt.

Now that I know how easy the jam making can be, I can start experimenting with more challenging recipes and yes... the preserving aspect...

To be continued...

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