Jam session - Slow Sunday
Summer is drawing its last breath, and all I can think about is extending it. After a few weeks in France getting my creative juices restored, it's time for some jamming. Slow Sundays are back with some basic skills and recipes, and this time it's extra tasty: who can resist a home made jam? There's an abundance of ripe berries and fruits this time of year, and it's starts to be time to preserve these goodies. The black and raspberry bushes in our garden are waiting to be picked, eaten fresh or frozen, or, made into delicious jams with a little less sugar than the traditional recipes.
It smells divine when jam is cooking, is this slow cooking happiness? I think so. The sun is shining outside and it's the end of summer, the gardens are bursting of delicious wonders, and were saving these moments in jars. Our children are picking the ripe berries into cups and bowls and I get a mix of raspberries and blackberries from our back yard, that's perfect for making something similar to a "Queens Jam" (drottningsylt), a popular swedish style of jam. We just need to add some blueberries to it. We add biological blueberries from the local store and voila! Our own version has bit more blackberries and less sugar, we name it "Purple Haze".
Coming back from France, where jam is part of "the small breakfast" "le petit déjeuner" my love for jam was renewed this summer. A little jam gives a finish to any dish it's applied to, it's dreamy good with coconut whip on a pancake, delicious on a crunchy toast, paired with cheese, and it's a really good idea to serve with savory foods.
Jam is one of my childhood food superstars, and probably yours too:) it's right up there with ice cream and pancakes. I can literally remember having my fingers in a jar and loving the taste of my favorite flavor in a porridge. These days I prefer it with cheese or savory dishes. I'm not such a sweet tooth anymore and It makes jam a more occasional enjoyment in our home.
Store bought versions are not so much fun, they're nothing like a home made jam. It's taste so much better and gives a more luxurious feeling eating a jam made with fresh ingredients from around the corner, and made with love.
For the other jams in this jam session, I picked other goodies that are plentiful and in season now. I found beautiful pears and carrots, and a big bunch of brilliant rhubarb stalks. "Purple Haze" gets to be our classic summer berry jam, and even though its made to be preserved, I think it will disappear quicker than a flash onto toasts this week. My grownup taste buds wants a bit more variation and variety, so I also make really delicious alternatives like onion, carrot and rhubarb jams. These beauties will brighten up everything from pancakes to tagines for a little while! If you feel inspired to raid your garden or local store for a jam session, here's a little Guide to jam basics and four delicious recipes to go.
Before we get to the jam basics and recipes, I'd like to share some jam inspiration from Bob Marley, just because.. I was humming this all afternoon long :)
from We're jammin', by Bob Marley:
I wanna jam it wid you.
We're jammin', jammin',
And I hope you like jammin', too.
We're jammin' -
To think that jammin' was a thing of the past;
And I hope this jam is gonna last.
Fruit and berries: Use organic and fresh, in season ingredients. Jamming is the perfect way to preserve an abundant harvest. It's also so easy that you can do small batches often, in this way your garden berries won't go to waste when the ripen in different times.
Rinse and clean before cooking. You can also make jams from veggies, pumpkin and cucumber. These are just a few examples of creative jams you can enjoy. Please add tips of interesting jams in the comment field.
The Sugar: Your fruit to sugar ratio is traditionally 1:1 in weight, so 500 gram fruit or berries would be mixed with 500 gram sugar. That's your starting point. I'm adding less sugar in these recipes, around two thirds of the fruit and berry weight. Sugar is the preservative in jam, so keep in mind with less sugar the jam will keep less long. Using less sugar, it's smart to store the jam in the fridge, but with these yummy jams you might not have to think about storing them for a longer period :) Another job for the sugar is to activate the gel reaction together with natural or store bought pectin (see below).
Though I normally use palm sugar, honey or brown sugar for baking and cooking. For making jam, white sugar has a neutral taste and the other options has a flavor that will overpower the freshness of fruit and berries. So bare with white sugar and comfort yourself knowing that jam is only eaten in small measures.
Pectin: pectin is a substance in fruit and berries that is released during cooking. The gel quality of pectin is essentially what makes jam - jam! It's often stored in the skin of fruit and berries so don't peel unnecessary. Young fruit has more pectin than mature ones, but less flavor, so it's a good idea to use a mix of young and ripe for best taste and consistency. You can add store bought pectin, but I never did and never had the need for it.
Acidity: Go lemony! The sugar, fruit, and pectin needs a little acidity to bond and form the consistency that we know as jam, it also enhances the flavor. A bit of lemon juice creates a perfect balance.
Storage: Sterilize clean glass pots and lids by leaving them in boiled water for a few minutes. let the jam cool of after canning. Then close the lids and store in the fridge. After opening they will keep for at least a week.
Making your own jams: You can experiment and create your own jams easily, the classic formula is mixing fruit and sugar with a wee bit of lemon and additional flavorings like vanilla, cinnamon etc. Cooking it for 5 -20 minutes slowly, using sterile jars. Why stop there, there's a whole world of new jams to be discovered. A jam with chili? veggies and fruit together, you name it.
4 delicious jams:
Delicious confit of pears and carrot with hints of vanilla and ginger, perfect as spread on bread and with cheeses.
Makes on big jar or two small:
350 gram medium sized carrots, peeled and chopped in coins
150 gram carrots, peeled, grated, make one half finely grated and the other half, coarse
Water to boil
2-3 medium sized ripe pears, cut into smaller pieces, seeds and house discarded
Seeds from one vanilla pod
ca 1 cm fresh ginger, grated or pressed
300 gram white sugar (you use up to 500 gram for more sweetness)
Juice of 2 organic lemons
zest from 2 organic lemons
Boil the carrot coins until soft and tender. Drain and keep a wee bit of water in the bottom of the pan. Add the pear pieces and grated carrot and bring to a slow boil. Add sugar and stir gently with a wooden spoon. Keep the slow boil and let it putter while adding the vanilla seeds and ginger, stir carefully and let it simmer for up to 20 minutes. Turn of the heat and let it cool in the pan for a few minutes before pouring into a jar. Leave to cool without a lid, you can cover it with a thin mesh or textile if you want to keep it protected, as soon as its cooled off, put a lid on and keep it in the fridge until serving. Voila!
This is my version of the Swedish classic and my childhood favorite "Drottningsylt", a jam made of raspberries and blueberries. My version has blackberries and a wee hint of vanilla and lemon added. This jam is good with everything, from pancakes and toasts to cheese boards.
Makes on big jar or two small:
250 gram raspberries and blackberries, cleaned
250 gram blueberries, cleaned
350 gram white sugar (you use up to 500 gram for more sweetness)
seeds of one vanilla pod
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
Add the berries to a pan and bring to a slow boil. Stir gently. Add the sugar, lemon juice and vanilla and let simmer and bubble together for 5 to 10 minutes. Turn of the heat and let it cool in the pan for a few minutes before pouring into a jar. Leave to cool without a lid, you can cover it with a thin mesh or textile if you want to keep it protected, as soon as its cooled off, put a lid on and keep it in the fridge until serving. Voila!
IT"S AN ONION CONFIT
A grown up jam with caramelized onions. Delicious with pizza blancos, pies, tartines, veggie burgers, and excellent topping on savory dishes in general.
Makes on big jar or two small:
300 gram red onion, finely sliced
200 gram shallots
150 gram white sugar
0,6 cups balsamic vinegar 1.5 dl)
3 tbsp red port wine (Optional)
2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil for frying
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh or dried rosemary
Add oil to a heated pan and fry the onions slowly on medium heat while stirring until the onion is transparent and has started to caramelize. Add the sugar, stir gently and let it cook together slowly for a few minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, sugar, and rosemary (and port wine if you opted for that). Stir and let it bubble on slow heat for a few minutes. Turn of the heat and let it cool in the pan for a few minutes before pouring into a jar. Leave to cool without a lid, you can cover it with a thin mesh or textile if you want to keep it protected, as soon as its cooled off, put a lid on and keep it in the fridge until serving. Voila!
Rhubarb gives a special edge wherever it's used, I love it with yoghurt and fruit, on pancakes and cheese. It's especially good with warm bread like scones and together with coconut whip it's heavenly!
Makes on big jar or two small:
500 gram, Rhubarb, cleaned and cut into small pieces
350 gram white sugar
seeds from one vanilla pot
Juice of half a lemon
Add the chopped rhubarb to a heated pan and leave it to for a few minutes, gently stirring on medium high heat. Add sugar lemon and vanilla, and stir on a slow boil for 10-15minutes. Turn of the heat and let it cool in the pan for a few minutes before pouring into a jar. Leave to cool without a lid, you can cover it with a thin mesh or textile if you want to keep it protected, as soon as its cooled off, put a lid on and keep it in the fridge until serving. Voila!
A final note on the photography and styling for the jam session, if you're interesting in seeing more, I'm posting addtional shots on my VSCO gallery this week.