Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Jams and Jellies

Good jam is one of life's great (small) pleasures. I discovered this first as a child, in the kitchen with my parents, boiling down the literal fruits of our labors after trips to the you-pick-it orchards in the California Central Valley.

(2009 stocking stuffer from my parents)

We would stir and bubble and toil for a few hours on a warm summer afternoon and end up with jars and jars of blackberry, apricot, plum and peach jam to be stored on the shelves under the house until their moment of glory would come.

But a New York City apartment is not the place to be preserving. No room for the massive cauldron necessary and no room for the jars. So I must turn to other sources.

I will forever adore Fortnum and Mason jams and jellies, not only because they are delicious but also for the whimsical flavor combinations and adorable label designs. But they are not so easy to come by here in the US, and when I do make my way over to London I nearly send myself to the poorhouse gathering up too many jars to reasonably take back in my suitcase.

So when I was having brunch the other day at Gottino, my latest new favorite spot (and apparently everyone else's as well...I've gone from having to wait zero minutes for a seat to thirty minutes in the span of two months) I was thrilled to discover that, along with their fluffy steamed eggs (it is absolutely essential to try the eggs with the roasted tomatoes...you have never tasted such a tomato, I promise!), they have fantastic jam. I was enjoying it with a healthy smear of butter on an already buttery scone and simply could not stop marveling over the sheer fruitiness of it.

I simply had to know...where does it come from? The answer, happily, was from about three blocks away, at one of my favorite shops, Buon Italia.

I dashed over to pick up some Agrimontana jam...blackberry, raspberry, orange, lemon, sour cherry...as many as I could reasonably carry.

After all, at $5.95 per jar I was more likely to break my back before my bank account.


Jane said...

I love Jam too. And so now do my children who are having a raspberry jam obsession at the moment. I suspect it is because it is like having jellied sugar on toast in the morning.

A Health Question: once that fruit has been boiled and boiled down, is there any fruity goodness left them once they become gelatinised and jammy? Or should I not worry? Must be better than Coco Pops.

Mlle Paradis said...

I asked my husband over and over to get me those jams for my birthday. And he never did. Now I know why!

Laura [What I Like] said...

Jane - I prefer to think there are at least a few vitamins and mineral left...I hope?

Mlle Paradis - I suspect you may come across a few empty jars if you look hard enough...

brismod said...

You're a women after my own heart. There is nothing nicer on toast than homemade jam or marmalade. Most of my recipes are from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess (because one needs a manual). My most favourite is grape-fruit marmalade - so easy!

Terry B, Blue Kitchen said...

We're big fans of small pleasures like jam too, Laura. Recently, we've discovered Rare Bird Preserves here in Chicago, made in small batches from local seasonal fruits. The owner Elizabeth creates inventive combinations, often infusing floral and herbal flavors with the fruit. Our current indulgences are Peach Lavender and Meyer Lemon Rosemary.

Anonymous said...

Next time you're here, Tiptree jams are very good, and nothing like as expensive as Fortnum's!

Angie Muresan said...

We love jams in our home too. This last autumn we made a plum one and it is absolutely delicious. Must try your recommendation.

French Fancy said...

There is a superb range of French jam available but the product they do that has stolen my taste buds is their jar of roasted onion chutney. It is by Lucien Goergelin and is to die for


wambalus said...

I have a serious weakness for mom's apricot and santa rosa plum jam. I tend to open the jar and stand there with a spoon, unsure how I managed to eat the whole thing without going into diabetic coma.

Millie said...

Fab post Laura, MOTH's the jam maker in this family. I love it when he comes home with a couple of big boxes of pick-your-own fruit, gets out the big jam saucepan, dons his apron & lets rip, but for goodness sake, not word to the blokes at the Rowing Club!!
Millie ^_^

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

loved visitng you today...and then i find my favorite topic.JAM!

i've been away too long..

i'll be back soon...always LOVE it here


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