Wednesday

Summer is Jam Making Time

I believe homemade is the best!

We had several fruit trees in our backyard while I
was growing up, my grandpa and my dad planted them soon after
Mom and Dad bought our house which was a couple of years
before I was born.

The suburban land there was fertile, located in what was once called
"The Valley of the Hearts Delight" in Santa Clara County, California.

Known then for its prolific fruit orchards and farmland,
it is known as the (original) Silicon Valley today.

The Valley of the Hearts Delight  ~ the name sounds so much
sweeter to my ear than 'Silicon Valley'
(and those days were sweeter, as well.)

My parents also nurtured our vegetable garden,
plus chickens and rabbits in our backyard plot.
But that is another story for another time...

The crops were incredibly abundant from just those few 
backyard trees, and what fruit we didn't eat fresh
my folks either canned or made into into jam.

Apricot, Plum, Peach and Strawberry were my favorites.
My parents canned the jam in 16 ounce jars.

These days I use the  8-ounce capacity jars ~ more
manageable for smaller households.




We enjoyed that delicious jam throughout the year,
on toast, pancakes and waffles from the
good old waffle maker. I think one of my favorite meals
was having 'breakfast for dinner' ~ what a treat,
especially for my sister, brother and me.




When I married and we began our own household, I continued the
tradition nearly each summer since then.

 I can probably count  --on one hand-- the number of 
summers that I have missed making jam for one reason or another 
through the years.  And during those years I was always 
thankful when my family would share what 
they had "put up" with us.




I usually always made traditional jam, but then
sometime in the late 1960's to early 1970's the innovative idea of
making Freezer Jam and Refrigerator Jam became popular. 
Made with less sugar and with a shorter
cooking time it brought jam to a new level ~
fresher tasting and not cloyingly sweet.
I love it!




That was when we lived in the "city".

I still enjoy the freezer/refrigerator jam, but
these days I usually make only a couple of jars of that kind for
just two of us.  

Living out in the country-side
we  occasionally frequently face power-outages at any time
of the year. It's risky to invest all of the jam to the freezer 
or refrigerator; so I find it safer to can most of it in the 
traditional way (hot water bath) so it is shelf stable.
 



Most recently I made red raspberry jam ~ which
I dearly love for its intense color, flavor and deep, delightful perfume.
 However, some that I cook for cannot tolerate the seeds
so for the past couple of years I began straining the seeds out
~ it takes a little more time, but the results are so worth it.
Pure raspberry goodness.




You can just press the slightly cooked berries through
a medium-fine mesh sieve by pushing through with the back of
a wooden spoon, or use a food mill, then proceed with
your favorite jam recipe.  

I always trust the recipes that come in
the pectin packages. 
You can find pectin in most well stocked grocery stores.
 (Pectin is a natural ingredient to
thicken jams, jellies, made from apples.)


~*~*~*~*~

For a good tutorial on traditional jams, low sugar,
lower sugar and no-sugar jams, click here.

Please note: The only thing I disagree with is --
I would advise against is using
a "non-stick" coated pot for cooking the jam.  

Cooking surfaces such as
 stainless steel, porcelain coated cast iron, or 
natural copper are my cooking vessels 
of choice for jams, jellies, preserves, etc.




You probably know, if you have made jam, there
might be a little left over when making a batch. 
 
Cook's Treat!  

I love to have it on warm toasted
bread (butter is optional for some, but not for me!)
A length of warm, toasted baguette is superb...
(it must be the French in my blood...)


It's soo good and the aroma of jam simmering
on the stove takes me right back to my 
childhood summers. The little bit of left over
from the jam making process has the same effect.

:o)

The wild blackberries which grow on the property have been picked and
I'll be making seedless Blackberry Jam next. Photos to follow if I
have a chance.



It's wonderful of you to have stopped by,
please say 'Hi!'

I love to read your comments and enjoy
hearing your thoughts.

xo~ mari




14 comments:

  1. Ethereally pretty.. translucent..
    It's so nice to hear more about your family..
    Summer just doesn not seem like summer without making a few batches of deliciousness for the year.
    I do like the seedless idea very much.
    Your colors are so true.
    Have a nice day..It is boiling here..not complaining:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Monique ~ your jams are beautiful (mine are just pantry stock, not showy.)

    Finally you are receiving some real 'summer' weather!
    I hope you are staying cool my friend. It's very hot here as well, and it's a little smoky which makes it seem hotter. I AM complaining, even though I know it doesn't help! ;)

    Thank you for stopping by! xo

    ReplyDelete
  3. I make a few jars of jam and label it "summer in a jar". I try to keep it tucked away until winter, and boy does it taste good on a cold, snowy day. I love the color of yours! Enjoyed hearing about your family. xo

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your jam is divine and what a beautiful jam pan.

    Do you know why some jams call for liquid pectin and some call for powdered? Are they interchangeable? I have made strawberry, apricot, and hot pepper jelly this summer, but I am always a little nervous about it if I am using the correct pectin.

    I want to buy a foodmill, but I am conflicted. I want a nice one, but I am trying to justify the price. Raspberry is just too seedy not to sieve imho.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just read your link about pectin. Very helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I loved your post today, my friend. Especially your childhood memories. They make us who we are today. No??

    Red raspberries are my favorite fruit and jam but I've never had seedless!! I'm curious. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh, I want to taste that...looks beautiful and delish!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Your jams look great, I only wish we were closer so I could sample them! We also had ducks in our backyard menagerie.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you Debbie. Perfect name for it ~ 'Summer in a Jar'!

    Hi Ms. L, If you don't think you'll use a food mill very often, you can press the berries through a medium-mesh sieve with the back of a wooden spoon or with a silicone spatula (the kind you scrape bowls with.) I've done it that way before (I partially cook the berries until they just begin to break down, cool, then do the sieve thing -- then proceed with the jam making. It does take some time and patience though. It probably will come as no surprise that the volume of seeds extracted just about equal the amount of berry pulp you'll get!

    Mary, A woman after my own heart... red raspberries are my favorite berry too!

    Thank you Betsy, I wish I could share it with you.

    Hello dear brother, Oh ya, I forgot about Donald, thank you for the reminder! Actually I wasn't around yet back then to remember the rabbits, (only the stories about them.) And I also forgot to mention the blackberries that grew along the side fence... and your favorite-- the rhubarb. Mom would make those pies especially for you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh, would you look at that?
    Gorgeous.
    I agree - homemade is the best.
    We've got a stock going. My hubby takes raspberries fr our garden and packs them up in jams for the winter.

    Love your site. xo

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Colette!
    How great that your husband does this -- it used to be a joint effort with my mom and dad.

    These days I get help with picking of the berries, which really helps out ~ but I usually do the actual prep and canning myself.

    Thank you for your nice words!

    ReplyDelete
  12. The Valley of the Hearts Delight~ does that ever sound picturesque and wonderful! Love your little jars stacked on your pedestal along with your story telling! Your toasted baguette with butter is presented like a culinary treat!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I know you have some happy jam folks at your house!
    I love your copper jam pot.

    Best,
    Bonnie

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Mary, Thank you!

    Hello Bonnie, thank you!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

A Sampling of my food . . .

Subscribe:

 Subscribe in a reader...or

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner