I love mastering new techniques for cooking and have always wanted to make my own jam, preserves, conserves, sauced berries, you name it. My husband was certain that I was going to kill us all with Botulism. Like the time in college that we actually foraged for and roasted horse chestnuts in the oven only realizing immediately before consumption that they were poisonous… Anyways, after many years of planting the canning seed and tending it with care, my husband agreed to let me try my hand at it last year for my birthday. The end result? We are currently alive and have a root cellar full of jewel toned deliciousness.
If it exists, then I want to try to figure out how to make it. I don’t know if it is just the challenge, or if it is the satisfaction of knowing that I can make that too, and yes, mine tastes better than yours if for no other reason than I know where it came from. How many people today invite you over for brunch and serve you homemade bread with homemade jam? Not many, I’ll tell you. But if you stopped by my house for breakfast I would. And I am proud of that… that I kneaded the dough, planned ahead for the time it takes to do two rises, that I touched each berry on the vine, lovingly prepared them, and preserved them for that very moment with you, me and a cup of coffee. It pretty much sums up our philosophy here. Take the time, put forth the effort, and then revel in the moment.
Well, I have been chomping at the bit to boil large quantities of water and venture into public with heat-callused berry stained hands. Apparently so has Amanda Blake Soule from SouleMama, as if you needed the introduction. She has crafted a recipe for violet jam. (Yes, one of the other benefits to doing it all yourself is that you can make whatever you want!) I only have one season of jamming under my belt, so I am not so brave as to try to create a recipe myself just yet… give it a few weeks. I am, however, ready to try hers!
Yesterday Matthew put Luke up in the backpack carrier and we ventured around our property and the nearby fields for some violets. It was loads of fun to see who could find the most violets and even more exciting to think that you were taking something that was essentially worthless to everyone around you and making something delicious and unique. The jam making went well but had one hitch, I used the wrong pectin. I should have remembered to get the Low Methoxyl pectin since I was using honey and not sugar as my sweetener, but I didn’t. Amanda gives the link for this pectin on her site, but doesn’t mention that you need it in order to make the jam set properly, so if you’re new to jam making, you need it. (Here’s why, science nerds.) I was overcome by lavender delight and just added my pectin willy-nilly and ended up with a pretty runny set. I know it can take up to two weeks for a good jell, so until then we will have to wait and see if it improves… or eat runny jam, which I am soooo ok with.