I am a jam fanatic and, therefore, no fruit will spoil on my counter when I have a few hours in the kitchen. Making a preserve is actually my go-to way to relax; I love the repetition of the chopping, the stirring, and the focus of filling, wiping, covering, and canning jars for the pantry. I prefer to unwind by making jam versus watching, say, Game of Thrones because that’s no way to relax, people. That show gets me all worked up. I love it, but it’s the opposite of relaxing.
To be honest, I also love how a preserve appears as if snapped into existence with magic (and a little lemon juice and sugar). Ripe fruit becomes a thick, chunky spread in an instant. It’s almost fantastical, like Jon Snow’s situation (beware of spoilers, people), but sweeter, more delicious, and with less violence – err – no violence.
These peaches, apricots, and rhubarb pieces didn’t just appear on my kitchen counter. There isn’t much deliciously-ripe fruit around during an early New England spring. But spring is the time to finish churning through all the frozen fruit in my freezer before the new year’s harvest replaces it. And with bags half filled with stone fruit and rhubarb, cut and frozen last spring, I have no choice but to get to jamming. One might even say all this fruit was awakened from a short, cold slumber, oops.
I know, I know, it’s a tough way to spend a Sunday morning. Scratch that. It’s the best way to spend a Sunday morning, aside from someone else (any takers, Jon Snow?) making the jam and serving it to me on homemade sourdough. With bloody good coffee. In bed, ha. But I’m the only one who makes jam in my circle, and I like it that way. It’s one of my signature gifts. Very bad puns are the other.
This time around, I skipped the granulated sugar and went with a little honey, about a cup of honey to the three pounds of frozen fruit. I also roasted the fruit in an oven — it was a fast way to snap it back to life and let its natural sweetness gush forth. The roasting is long enough to soften the fruit, and then you slash it into smaller bits with a fork and knife. (No swords were involved in the slashing of this fruit, promise.)
All of these jars, freshly water-bath canned, were tucked into my pantry, waiting for a slab of toast, an unwitting friend who can’t leave without a sweet token, or a Jon Snow because he could use a little food-gift-love right about now, right? Right.
Before you go…
* Did you know: Eat Boutique started as a food blog in 2007! Have you ever wanted to start your own food blog? Sarah Britton wrote up a great resource on How to Start a Food Blog. If you’d like to read how one blogger makes money, Justine at the Jungalow wrote all about it last week.
* Leaf compiled 7 Style Hacks to Make Your Life Easier.
* I am loving these new disposable re-zip storage bags from Blue Avocado. Add a little washi tape with a hand-written tag, and they’re totally giftable.
* My big bag of last summer’s frozen blueberries are no match for these Blueberry Swirl Muffins I plan to make today. I’ve got some colleagues coming by tomorrow to shoot some new content, and they’ll need sustenance.
* Food courts, food halls, markets – they’re rising up everywhere. Check out details on the new Nordic market going in at Grand Central in New York, and read all about the tensions at the Boston Public Market.
Roasted Stone Fruit and Rhubarb Jam
Makes: 4 half-pint jars
- 2 1/2 pounds peaches and apricots (fresh or frozen), halved and pitted
- 1/2 pound rhubarb (fresh or frozen), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup light flavored honey
- 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and scraped
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a roasting dish, spread the fruit into a single layer. Drizzle the honey over the fruit and scrape the seeds from the vanilla beans across patches of the fruit, sticking the beans into the dish. Toss with a spatula to distribute the honey and vanilla bean flavor, and roast for 25 to 30 minutes (fresh fruit) or 45 minutes (frozen fruit). The fruit is ready when it’s very easily pierced with a fork.
- With a fork and a knife, cut up the fruit into smaller pieces in the roasting dish, leaving some larger pieces (or more, if you prefer a chunky texture). Empty the contents of the roasting dish into a deep and wide skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for 15 minutes until the fruit gets sticky and any liquid has evaporated.
- If you’re not preserving/canning the jam, allow the mixture to cool and then store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks in a sealed container.
- If you are preserving the jam, carefully ladle the hot jam through a regular-mouth funnel into your prepared sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Tap the jar a few times to loosen any air bubbles. Wipe the rims and seal carefully, as the jars will be hot. If you’re canning according to my water-bath-canning directions (see “How to Preserve,” directions on page 000), place the jars in a single layer in your pot of boiling water. Once the water bath boils again, process these jars for 15 full minutes. Store for gifting up to 1 year in a dark pantry.
Eat Boutique was an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting retail markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie now supports entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses through We Are Magic Studio. Follow Maggie Battista on Instagram.