Hi, I am Heather Nygren with HomesteadRVA, which was established to bring people together around sustainable living practices. I love gardening, cooking and concocting, and especially blending them all together! I'm also a member of Fall Line Farms and Local Roots.
I am a self-proclaimed condiment hoarder. No shame. I love each and every jar and bottle of delectable delight. It dawned on me at some point that a large section of my fridge was filled with jam, and that I could make it myself to control the amount and variety. And so can you!
Making jam is also a fantastic way to use up extra fruit, should you find yourself with excess. (Editor's Note: This week, you might try this recipe with the beautiful locally grown red raspberries from Agriberry. And we just noticed that this week, they also have their frozen blackberries in a pail listed, but those won't be around for long! )
We’re moving into a colder and more reflective time with fall and winter, so a jar of summer flavors can bring back sultry summer memories and add brightness to heavier dishes. I often add a bit of marmalade to cocktails or recipes when I don’t have fresh lemons or oranges. This is a recipe for peach jam, because for me, peaches are the essence of summer, especially when you preserve them at your peak, but you can also use just about any stone fruit, and frozen is fine as well. I leave the skins on, but you might want to peel them for a smoother jam.
The idea is simply to add fruit and sugar to a saucepan, and let them blend together and bubble slowly until it thickens.
I hope that you explore this method with a variety of fruit and spices, until you find something that makes you swoon. I came across an abandoned garden, and foraged some concord grapes and figs. The combination inspired me to make a jam with cardamom and Vermouth. Earthy and tart. Really nice over breast of duck or pork loin. (Keep an eye on the Burkeville-Waverly Farms, Cypress Grove Farm, and PigCrafters pages for pork loin!)
Quick and Easy Icebox Jam
2 cups chopped fresh or frozen fruit
¼ cup sugar
1 t lemon juice (optional)
Add ingredients to small saucepan over medium heat. Smash fruit together with sugar, and stir occasionally until fruit starts to break down.
Depending on the water content of the fruit, you may need to add a small amount of liquid (1-2 T) about 5-10 minutes after the fruit has started to cook down. You can use water, juice or brandy/other alcohol.
Lower heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool before transferring to jar.
Ready to go shopping? Here's the link to our non-profit online market: https://flflr.luluslocalfood.com/
We're grateful to our many enthusiastic members, who not only buy our local food, but share ideas with others about how to cook and preserve it. Thank you, Heather! We look forward to your next recipe or story! And please don't forget to follow HomesteadRVA on social media for more information on their activities. Finally, we hope to restart our own Homestead Series of classes sometime next year. We'll keep you posted!