Memories of childhood summers include the intense fruity fragrance of jam making on a hot summer's day. Stirring the bubbling cauldron of sugar and berries. More stirring. The caution to "stand back, it's hot," as the pot is removed from the stove. The sound of jar lids popping as they cool and seal.
I learned how to make jam from my mother and have made it for years with commercial pectin. However, I've been experimenting with recipes other than the ones that come with the pectin packets or the companies that have a vested interest in pectin. I took a book out from the library recently called Food in Jars, by Marisa McClellan. She has a blog, also called Food in Jars. Her recipes call for a little more cooking of the jam and fruit and a bit of liquid pectin at the end. But the ratio of fruit to sugar is much, much higher. Both the raspberry jam (Simple Raspberry Jam) and the Rhubarb Jam (Rhubarb Vanilla Jam with Earl Grey) are from her book.
So. Delicious. I licked the jam pot after both. Yum. Yum. Yum. The Rhubarb Jam is made with a whole vanilla bean that is scraped out and all the bits added to the jam. If you look closely you'll see the dark flecks. And, instead of water she adds double strength Earl Grey tea for just a hint of bergamot. This takes rhubarb to a whole new level. One thing she forgot to mention is to remove the vanilla bean carcass before pouring the jam. But most cooks can figure that one out.
Do you make jam? I find it so simple to do and it tastes so much better than commercial jams.
Last fall's garlic planting shot up garlic scapes this week. I likely waited a bit too long to clip them for tenderness, but I'll just cut off the woody bits and sauté the tops in a little olive oil or butter.
Another version of infused water - melissa (aka lemon balm) and cubes of watermelon. So refreshing!
A question for you. What is your favourite picnic food? I don't mean food to grill, I mean food to pack in a cooler and take along to a park or a picnic site. Potato Salad, Quinoa Salad, Deviled Eggs? I'm looking for some new ideas in the portable picnic range. I know you'll have wonderful suggestions.
Now I"m off to watch a Little Miss while her mother goes to her own eye appointment. My own appointment, last week, went well. I just need to order the new prescription. And choose new frames.