Monday, September 9, 2013

And it's Summer Fruit Jam for the Win!

When I go grocery shopping and put all my stuff up onto the checkout conveyor and it's all spread out and piled up it looks like a crazy amount of food.  Anyone passing by and glancing at my haul would come to the natural and obvious conclusion that I was feeding the Mongol hordes.

This time of year, a passerby would glance my way and conclude that I was feeding the Mongol hordes and that Genghis Khan and his army must be on a fruit cleanse diet. 

I just can't stop buying fruit.  I know that pretty soon the melons and plums and peaches and all manner of summer fruits will be gone.  (At least there's apples, squash, and winter citrus to look forward to!)  For now, I just buy fruit like crazy, knowing that these are the last few weeks we'll have to savor it.  

This was an especially fruit-filled summer and I was able to work some kitchen magic to get the most out of it...  (any time I have a success in the kitchen, it's automatically labeled magical because there's no other reasonable explanation for it. Skill doesn't happen for me in the kitchen, so therefore, it must be magic.)

It started with June strawberries - you can check out our picking days here.  And you can read about my specialty strawberry freezer jams here.  Since then, we were blueberry picking three or four times, bought untold amounts of peaches and apricots from farmers' markets, and were generously gifted with mounds of pears from Mary and her sweet family!  (Oh, I can't even tell you how generous they were and what a blessing it was to have that extra fruit - local and organic, too!)  

Even though I've managed to do some baking with most of this bounty, the real winner of summertime fruits this year has been my freezer jam.  I've made freezer jam for three or four years now, but this was the first year where I tried to fancy it up a bit and created some delicious-beyond-what-you'd-expect-to-come-from-Theresa's-kitchen jams.  I will not list out any recipes here, because what I've learned it you don't need a special recipe.  Just follow the instructions on whatever instant pectin you happen to be using and when you add extra ingredients, flavors, herbs, etc... just don't allow it to change the amounts/proportions of the main ingredient too much. 

Here are the jams that I made that turned out the best.  I can testify that these work as no-cook freezer jams, and I'm practically ready to roll out my personal guarantee that you'll love every one of them.  

Strawberry Basil Lime
Strawberry Mint
Blueberry Raspberry Lime
Blueberry Lemon Lime
Apricot Lime
Pear Vanilla
Pear Raspberry Lime

Basically, the main point you should take away from this list is... Lime will make a good jam a great jam.  If you're going to make jam, be sure to have your citrus zester and juicer on hand! 

Now, I have to admit that the downside to making these amazingly delicious fancy freezer jams, is that you may end up eating more carbs than you did in all the previous years of your life... combined. You'll want to purchase fancy things like croissants, butter rolls, and baguettes upon which to put your fancy jam. And another thing, you're probably not going to want to waste your specialty jams on kids' peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  So adjust your health-o-meter to account for a very tasty, very high carb diet, and take an extra day or two to make your kids some plain old jam for sandwiches.  Enjoy!

And, incidentally, if you do see me in the grocery store and I have jam up on the counter - slap me and tell me to go home... to this...

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Oh brother... I better stop writing stupid blog posts I'll look back on with dismay and ask, "why did I ever do that?" and go do something real and productive - making dinner and lesson planning come to mind...


  1. That is A LOT of jam! Wow! So glad the pears went to good use! I am realizing more and more how our grocery bill is going to look as these boys get bigger and I'm thinking I may begin to have the same assumptions made at the grocery store. That or we're REALLY cool and throw parties every week :) (p.s.I don't know if that first image is showing up correctly...)


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