every year there is one jam that for some reason or another i can only make an insy winsy little batch of. it always happens to be one of my favorite fruits and it always happens to turn out amazing.
murphy’s law of the jamming world i guess…
last year it was golden raspberry; we got up too late on the last saturday of the raspberry-picking season in this part of the world and by the time we got to thompson finch farm, it was slim pickins.
we worked hard for those berries, and after a few hours in the hot sun we came back with just enough for a scant 2 pints of golden raspberry jam (reserva 2008). it was the best damn raspberry jam i ever made.
so i propose to you that each year either as luck would have it, or by intent, you do a very small batch, a jam reserva as it were, to savor throughout the year. or as long as you can make it last.
here let me help you with some reasons why you might have cause to label a batch your reserva:
1. you found a wild apple tree, grape vine, or blackberry bush dripping with just enoughfruit to get jammin.’
2. you love to sleep on weekend mornings and can never make it to your local pick-your-own until it has morphed into your local too-late-its-picked-through.
3. cut and paste for your weekend farmers market.
4. you have been trying, with some difficulty to grow some such fruit, or its the first year on some new berry bushes and the yield is small.
5. your neighbor has a tree and it’s all you could get before his dog started barking and you had to dash (or get caught).
6. you work a bazillion hours a week, or have a bazillion kids and you don’t feel like having a bazillion pounds of fruit in your kitchen.
7. you saw some amazing specimen of your favorite kind of jammin’ fruit at the local organic co-op or farmers market but man, it wasn’t cheap.
8. you’re space deprived. (NYC hello!)
9. the particular fruit is a pain in the ass to prep and even though you absolutely love the jam doing a big batch would take longer than doing a 36′X36′ hook rug.
does anybody do those anymore? we should bring it back! jammin’ and hookin’
(has a nice ring to it, no?)
i am sure there’s more but you get the jest.
gist i mean.
this year, for me it’s gooseberries. i love gooseberry jam and since they are not common here in the northeast i had to plant my own. this is the first year that i can harvest enough to make a very small batch. and the minute they were ripe, harvest i did!
gooseberry jam (reserva 2009)
4 cups ripe gooseberries, topped and tailed but left whole
1 cup water
2 cups sugar (i use raw)
4 1/2 pint canning jars (use even smaller jars if you have them – i like to keep my reserva batches in very small jars so they last longer!)
1. clean canning jars and place in canning pot. boil for 10 minutes to sterilize. at the same time place 2 or 3 small plates in freezer to check the set later on.
2. while jars are boiling place 1 cup water and whole cleaned gooseberries in medium saucepan. bring to the boil, turn down heat and simmer for 10 or so minutes – until the berries are soft. you want to try not to overcook at this stage so that most of the berries can remain whole throughout the jamming.
3. add sugar to gooseberries, make sure sugar is dissolved first and then turn heat up high and bring to a rapid boil. boil until jam is set- about 5 to 7 minutes.check the set by placing a teaspoon of jam on a frozen plate and sticking it back in freezer for about a minute, if the jam wrinkles under your finger once its cold, its set. because there is no added pectin it will not be a thick set but it will definitely jell and be of a jammy consistency.
4.fill jars, place back in canning pot, process for 5 minutes.if you need help on the boiling water bath canning process go here.
if you can manage to get your hands on some gooseberries, i think you will enjoy this as much as i do, it has the pure, tart taste of gooseberries, and what better thing to have when you roll out of bed on those lazy weekend mornings? let the hoards get there early, i’m all for the reservas…
until next time-