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Posts Tagged ‘jam’

Endless Summer Jam

Summer’s winding down.  Days are getting shorter.  Nights becoming cooler.  Even the air smells different.  It’s around this time of year when everyone starts to smile sadly at what’s left of the warm sunny days, knowing the inescapable ‘F’ word is just around the corner.  It’s also around this time of year that I launch into a state of full-blown, vehement denial.  The flip flops will stay on my feet.  I will not need a jacket.  I will ignore those pesky baby pumpkins perched next to the last of the heirloom tomatoes.  They have no business being there yet, and they know it.

My denial takes many forms, though one of my favorites is to bottle up summer.  Literally.  Bottle it up in pretty glass jars, so on the coldest and dreariest of winter days when I’m craving sunshine on my face and freshly picked summer berries on my plate, I’ll have a secret weapon to bust out.  I will not be defeated.

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Luckily, the beach across the street from our house provides the perfect ammunition for my secret weapon – row after row, after glorious row, of wild blackberry bushes.  During my parents most recent visit, we had a chance to head down and pick away to our heart’s content.  Pick one, eat one.  Pick one, eat two.  Admittedly, I’m not the most efficient harvester.  The goods are carefully carried home and prepped for my Endless Summer Jam.  It’s a jam that tastes like summer, looks like summer and smells like summer.  Denial can be a good thing, especially when it comes in a pretty jar.

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Endless Summer Jam
Kiss My Spatula’s version of her favorite jam, yields about 1 pint

This jam is on the thicker, chunkier, and seedier side – just how I like it.  There’s nothing polite or demure about this one.

Music Pairing: Theme from Endless Summer

Ingredients

  • 3 cups blackberries
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 small apple, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • juice and zest of 1/2 lime

Method

Place blackberries, sugar, lime juice and zest in a non-reactive, deep pot.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Add diced apple and blueberries and continue to keep mixture at a rolling boil, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes or until thickened.  Gently mash fruit with a potato masher.  Spoon into favorite jam jars and allow to cool to room temperature.  Store covered in refrigerator for several weeks.

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Tulips and Jam

It might not have been Holland, but without having to board a plane for 15 hours, the eye-popping show hosted by Mother Nature herself far exceeded expectations and made for a delightful Sunday afternoon outing. The annual Tulip Festival in Skagit Valley showcases tens of thousands of these simple, perfect spring flowers.

tulips-and-jam

Besides tulips, the Skagit Valley is also home to an abundance of family-run farms, many passed down through generations starting as homesteads as early as 1889. The rich, fertile soil coupled with the mild coastal climate results in perfect conditions for an abundance of fruits and veggies. Especially berries. Ohhh, the berries!

Stay tuned for late May/early June when the season officially opens…

In the meantime, there is a secret way to enjoy these berries year round. JAM. And not just any jam. I know we all love making homemade jam, but dare I say, my little discovery could possibly surpass our beloved homemade version. *ghast*

Here’s why: 1) most of the berries are picked locally from Skagit Valley and made into jam an hour away and 2) these fresh berries are never cooked. That’s right, no cooking, no boiling, no canning. Instead, the recipe is mixed and immediately frozen which results in a jam that just ooooozes with freshness. The berries are able to retain all their natural sweetness and goodness. Let me tell ya, the difference is like night and day. These little tubs of jam are made by a local family run company called SunFresh and can be found in the freezer isle (not sure if they distribute outside the area, but if not, you can order on-line). Strawberry is my personal favorite.

Your morning slice of whole grain toast will forever thank you.

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