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Jammin' 2012!

I thought it would be fun to have an ongoing discussion of what we are making - jam, jelly, preserve and conserve-wise for the year.

What are you making? What worked or didn't work?

Tips, links to recipes, questions - dive right in!

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  1. I got a later start than I had hoped with the earlier strawberry season. I picked about 8 lbs. of organic berries and started to make up for lost time!

    Strawberry Lavender Jam
    http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/lo...

    The first recipe was inspired by the large lavender patch just coming into bloom in front of my home. This is the first jam I've made since the end of fig season last summer and the first I made with a new wider pot. Consequently, the new pot (and new stove?) resulted in an overcooked product. Very thick but very delicious. Unfortunately, over cooking led to 1 1/2 jelly jars...I love the combination of strawberry and lavender and plan on making more. I just realized I used half the amount of lavender the recipe called for.

    Strawberry with Thai Spices
    By Liana Krissof "Canning for a New Generation"
    http://books.google.com/books?id=6Mk8...

    I was tired by the time I finished picking and prepping the berries, so I macerated the berries with the sugar overnight. I halved the recipe due to the quantity of berries I had left. The next day I followed the recipe and ended up with 2 jelly jars of jam. I decided to experiment with adding oil to deal with foaming and added 1 tea. of canola about midway during the cooking. The finished jam still shows signs of foam - better to just skim imo. Later I read that the oil/butter should be added at the beginning.
    Overall I am very pleased with the flavor - bright, the fresh herbal tones don't overpower the berries. I'm looking forward to playing with pairings. Should be nice as a glaze for chicken. The flavor is making me wonder what the lovechild of a Banh Mi and a Monte Cristo might be like!
    All in all, worth making.

    Christine Ferber's Strawberries with Raspberry Juice and Balsamic Vinegar from Mes Confitures
    (A copy is on the gardenweb link above

    )

    I used a slightly larger amount of raspberries due to the packaging of the fresh. By the time I ate the too ripe berries the increase was probably 2 oz. I used a 20 year balsamic. Ended up with 3.5 jars. (I need to rethink this new pot...) I loved the flavor when it was warm. I tried it this morning and it was pretty tart. I'll let it mellow a few weeks and try it again. I generally love her combinations. This is the first one that I am not immediately wowed by. Again, could very well be the new pot. With the number of fans of this jam I'm inclined to think the blame is on me. :-)

    Today I'll finish up with Ferber's Strawberry with mint (also on Gardenweb link). With the larger amount of berries.

    I was very intrigued with a strawberry and maple syrup recipe I saw, but reluctant to invest so much in the quantity of syrup it called for. I might half the recipe...

    1. Christine Ferber's Strawberry with Black Pepper and Fresh Mint
      http://community.cookinglight.com/sho...

      Edit: My post before mentioned the wrong link for this recipe!

      This is a three day process, with a brief simmer on the second day. I had seen a suggestion about using grains of paradise instead of black pepper and decided to try it. I used my old pot - partly to avoid the problems of yesterday and because the larger volume required a taller pot.

      This was letter perfect with the usual Ferber set. They yield was exactly 4 jelly jars.

      The flavor is like the most perfect hard strawberry candy. Fresh, exactly sweet enough with true strawberry flavor. The mint and grains of paradise aren't enough to discern, but somehow amp up the purity of the berry. This is a keeper!

      1. I tried the strawberry lavender again with some changes. I doubled the berries, sugar and lemon juice. I used 30 stems of lavender.

        I macerated the halved berries in sugar overnight. Second day brought them to a quick boil then returned them to the bowl and fridge. Third day drained the juice and brought to a boil until 221 degrees ( ala Ferber) then added the berries for 5 minutes (sans lavender). Filled jars to 1/4" headspace, processed 10 min., let rest uncovered 5 min. Ended up with 5 jars of the most delicious jam!

        (Gave up on the new pot, using my tried and true!)

        1. Figs have started coming in!

          Initial harvesting was just 800 - 900 grams each day. I made a batch of last years favorite, Ferber's fig & pear. Recipe quantity thanks to geminigirl:
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8544...

          I also made a batch of a new-to-me recipe which has fig/pear/apple/orange zest & juice/cardamon/lemon juice. The flavor is really nice, the orange changes it up a bit. The apples developed an odd texture similar to a re-hydrated dried apple. Hopefully the texture changed once canned.
          Here's the link:
          http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/595020
          The recipe calls for preserving sugar. I'm in the states so just used regular cane sugar. Figured the apples (granny smiths) provided enough pectin. Made 6 jars plus a little extra.

          Picked almost 5 lbs today.

          Would love it if anyone has some fig jam/preserve recipes they'd like to share!

          1. Well, our record breaking warm March followed by a cool April and several frosts have wreaked havoc on local berries. I did make some strawberry-vanilla jam, but the strawberries (local) were just bland ( the fault of the weather, not the grower). I also made some with non-local organic berries ( and raspberries), which were more flavorful. The impact on local peach crops is sure to be severe, so I am crossing my fingers that I'll be able to put up some vanilla-almond-peach jam (along with peach salsa--not a sweet spread, I know).