Jam Time

28 09 2011

It’s that time again. That anxiety-ridden, sleepless, sweaty time. That’s right. Jam exchange time.

My partner this year was Evan (Check out her blog! Aren’t those wedding cakes amazing?). She sent me a jar of champagne pomegranate jelly. It was delicious. And I was so impressed that she literally made jelly. I am terrified of making jelly. I’m not sure why. She also sent a perfect jar of strawberry-rhubarb jam. It is all gone gone gone, because it was so good. I didn’t even have a chance to take pictures of it because I was so busy shoveling it into my mouth.

To back up a little though, when the exchange rolled around I was hopeful. Maybe this year I wouldn’t ruin most of the jam I tried to make by entirely disregarding all of the warnings plastered on the Sure-Jel package that say not to mess with the pectin ratio. Maybe this year I wouldn’t include a note in her box of jam full of misspellings. Maybe this year I wouldn’t be crippled with the fear that I’d give my partner botulism. Yes. This year would be different.

I happened upon a giant pile of pluots (a plum/apricot hybrid) and some perfect-looking Italian plums at the local farmer’s market. I wanted to do something a little different with the pluots, so I found a recipe for a savory jam – something that seemed like it would be great with pork or maybe blobbed on crackers with some chevre. It turned out well, though at first bite it is a little… unexpected. Savory. Weird.  I really hope Evan likes it! Oh jeeze. I shouldn’t think this hard about it. The harder I think about it, the more anxiety I feel.

Anxiety over my savory pluot jam will be my undoing!

The plum jam was rustic and lovely. I’m glad I made a bunch of jars of it. I used one at work to barter for Mexican food. Delia, (one of my favorite co-workers) and I are stuck in a cycle of good culinary deeds.  She gives me a burrito, I give her cookies. She gives me homemade salsa, I give her a thank you note. She gives me a plate of chicken, I give her a jar of jam. You get the idea. Clearly I am the lucky one in this cycle. But I am proud of the plum jam! It was good enough to give Delia – a solid trade for her chicken, so I think it was also good enough to send to Evan.

Oh, and I took care of my control issues with pectin by leaving it out of the equation entirely. I left the skin on all of the fruit, which served the dual purpose of adding natural pectin to the jam and making the whole fruit-prep process a little easier.

Jam foam = Best treat ever!

Savory Pluot Jam (adapted from Epicurious)

Approximately 1 pound ripe pluots (I think I may have used slightly more)

3 T brown rice syrup (the original recipe called for honey, but I didn’t have any)

4 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 T lemon juice

1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

1/8 tsp coarse salt

pinch of black pepper

Cook everything together in a heavy pot. Bring to a boil first, then turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until it gets jammy. Skim off foam. Process/can.

Italian Plum Jam

4 cups chopped plums (with skin)

2 cups sugar

2 T lemon juice

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a heavy pot, turn down the heat to a simmer. Let cook for about 20 minutes, until it passes the “glob on a cold plate” test. Yeah, you know what I mean. Skim off foam. Process/can.




One response

28 09 2011

look at you venturing into no pectin jam! Rock on girl!!!! Great job!

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