How much jam can a person handle? If you ask me, quite a lot! Three new jams stepped into my kitchen, unexpected yes but certainly not uninvited…
Jam, part I:
SHF is not only a fun and inspiring event, it – SHF no. 10 to be specific – also was the starting point for an email correspondence with dear Fatemeh, creator of Gastronomie. She was on the hunt for the coconut honey we featured. The idea was born in an instant, to swap and send some local delicacies on a voyage.
Oblivious to what I was up for, I received a generous and huge food package! Besides wonderful food magazines, Hawaiian sea salt, unknown (to me) spices for Fatemeh’s favorite Persian dish, fruit leather and luscious grape seed oil,… I found something, I have been wanting to try for ages, ever since I had read about it on various occasions: June Taylor jam! Yummm!! All the praise I have read is true, the jam (Santa Rosa Plum) is sweet (just a little), a bit tartish, has a natural color, smooth consistency and totally leaves a “homemade” impression. A perfect ten – if it was only available here in Germany ;)
Jam, part II:
Last Wednesday, a regular day at work: While in the midst of tedious, not-so-out-of-my-socks-knocking fine-tuning of presentations, our company’s cleaning lady poked her head in the door and asked if she may interrupt for a second. Presentations versus distraction, it took me 0.0001 seconds to make the call – Suuure thing! She approached my desk and handed me a little jar of jam: “Because you’re always so nice to me.” Besides some guttural sounds, I was speechless. She told me that she loves to make jam for her family and thought she’d surprise me with some as well. What a lovely gesture! But her words also made me think about the whole scene. Usually when I run into her in the hallway we always have a little chat about this, that and the other (she is so into cooking…) – sadly, a lot of people completely ignore her, at best. She is a very friendly and polite lady in her late fifties, working hard for her money. A little respect, is that too much to ask for…? Please, don’t let me ever get that snobby and uptight!
Jam, part III:
Sometimes I just forget about a dish, recipe or ingredient, temporarily cached by my subconsciousness so to speak. In this specific case for almost 21 years, I’d say! Pursuing my daily blog reading, I came across this post from David Lebovitz, a dedicated food blogger. As soon as my eyes caught sight of the Reine Claude plums I instantaneously felt overwhelmed by a wealth of renewed memories. Me and the-best-(-and-most patient)- grandparents-ever on holiday near Strasbourg, discovering Reine Claudes for the first time. Grandpa relentlessly on the search for more Reine Claudes for his dear (and bugging) grandchild ;)
As unexpected as they entered my young culinary life, as quickly they vanished again – just to be re-discovered last week. Needless to say, I tasked myself to find some of these oh-so-delicious plums on my next visit to Viktualienmarkt, and I was lucky! I bought almost a kilo and ate the first, unwashed on my way home (I told myself that rubbing them a little on my jeans would do the job). How can a little green plum (green to me always meant SOUR) be so sweet and yummy? Earlier I was talking to the stand owner, weighing arguments for and against making a cake or alternatively jam. She fully supported the jam concept, and with the “Mirabellen Liqueur” I already had at home – which she highly recommended for the Reine Claude jam – I gave it a go. The result: Amazing, rather unusual jam-color, sweet and smooth, almost velvet-like texture, with a certain tang of the liqueur. I think I have to make some more, to stock up for the cold winter months…
1 Wash Reine Claude plums thoroughly under water, cut them in halves, remove pits and mince them coarsely.
2 Take a large pot, add the plums, the sugar and a generous shot of Mirabellen-Liqueur. For the sugar I chose the 1plus2 type (1 part sugar used with 2 parts fruit), because the plums themselves are quite sweet. Bring the mix to a boil rapidly, while stirring. When it begins to bubble vigorously, let boil for about 5 minutes. As the mixture thickens, keep stirring to prevent sticking. Puree the mixture directly in the pot, using a hand blender. Carefully sample the jam, you may want to add some more liqueur.
3 Sterilizing the jam jars: keep empty jars with screw lids in boiling water for few minutes. Carefully take them out (I use my BBQ tongs), place them on clean kitchen towels and fill them with the boiling hot jam immediately. Try not to spill any jam on the edges, because it’s really important to work as scrupulously clean as possible! Make sure to leave a little less than a centimeter of margin, close it with the lid (use a clean towel to prevent burning your fingers) and let them rest upside down for about 10 minutes (and then back in the normal position ;). This will create a vacuum and make the jam jars perishable for about 4-6 months. Allow to cool down for a few hours.
Reine Claude Jam
Recipe source: own creation
Required time: prep. 20 min., cooking 5 min., yield: three 250 ml jars
700 g Reine Claude plums (without the pits)
350g preserving sugar (1plus2)
one generous shot of Mirabellen Liqueur, or to your taste