Thursday, June 30, 2011

Artisan Jam, raw sugar, spiced jam, strawberry jam, strawberry rhubarb jam, kumquat jam, conserves

Day before yesterday was miserable. A trip to the dentist for a 'deep' cleaning (which translates to gum scraping).  Spent the rest of the day  with a sore mouth, sore throat,and trying not to barf because my whole face was numb when they gave me the  'do not swallow' rinse and I accidentally swallowed some of it because I couldn't feel anything.  Everything hurt to eat or drink.  Yesterday was different because I followed the  'do not swallow' instructions  on the 'before bed' antibacterial rinse and woke up feeling fine and very hungry!
So, yesterday was catch-up day.  Jimmy and I rolled out of bed and went golfing at the nearby municipal range.  Much fun and a fine walk.  Then to my favorite  supply store for  a 50 pound bag of raw sugar and  raspberries and  lemons.  Then over to the  farmers market to pick up  this years late and newly arrived strawberries.  Couldn't help myself, I also picked up Rainer cherries and outrageously cheap kumquat's.   Came home dug out every empty  1/2 pint jar I could find and  began making Jam.   I started out  with  a batch of just plain strawberry...... if there is such a thing as  plain strawberry.  Success!  I then threw the raspberries and kumquats in the blender and strained out all the seeds,  added two cups of whole strawberries and made the most interesting conserve.  Delicious of course but the consistency is what I love.  imagine:  raspberry, kumquat, strawberry BUTTER.  This is truly an artisan jam.  I still had  a couple of cups of strawberries left and some rhubarb the neighbors had given me.  I combined the two and added vanilla, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of clove.  This jam is dark and rich and tastes like a holiday!  I used Ida Baileys 100 year old recipe and cooked the bejeebers out of it letting the  sugar do the jelling.  Once it reached a rolling boil I kept dropping it onto a saucer with a little cold water on it  until it formed a ball.  It gelled beautifully. It proved to me once again that sure gel is unnecessary.  
I water bathed it all.  I will not debate  the 'you dont need to water bath jams and jellies' argument with anyone because I water bath EVERYTHING (except the stuff I pressure bath) .  I absolutely will not take even the smallest chance of poisoning my family and friends.
Jimmy and I ate dinner to the music of popping lids.  Today I will move the 24 jars into the canned goods shelves in the garage and be happy that we are re-jammed again.  24?  Only 24?  you say.  There were 26 but I gave 2 jars to the neighbors who provided the rhubarb.  They, of course, were appropriately and enthusiastically  complimentary  of the spiced ,strawberry-rhubarb jam and offered up more rhubarb.  I told them if they give me a recipe to go with it I would take it but that I had to get creative with the first batch they gave me.  Seems they have the same problem with rhubarb this year that Jimmy and I had with brussell sprouts last year!    

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