Thursday, August 2, 2012

Jamming out

One of the hallmarks of jam makers seems to be their propensity for giving away their creations. The Ball Blue Book—the decades-old, venerable holy bible of home preserving—touts the fact that your homemade jams and relishes, when tied with a ribbon and affixed with a handwritten label, will make beautiful gifts. I am far too selfish of a person for this kind of gift giving. Jam making is hard fucking work! And unless your sweat, along with mine, dripped down your neck while these blueberries were being plucked, one by one, from their sun-beaten bush, don’t expect a jar of jam in your Christmas stocking from me.

My jam makes for a pretty finished product, but the process for getting there is anything but. That’s why I prefer to cook alone. As I’ve mentioned before, I have many things going against me when it comes to being a graceful chef. I’m disorganized. I make a mess and leave a trail. I swear a lot. I drop things and break things and hurt myself. The phrase “Mama cut her finger with a chef knife” was recently a major part of Chloe’s catching-up chit-chat with people she hadn’t seen in a while.

Maybe that’s why jam making and canning appeals to me and challenges me so much. It is precise and allows no room for error. It requires organization and exacting tools and tight choreography. It requires preparation and meticulousness. As someone who loses her keys every single day, home canning is a complete departure from my personality. It’s teaching me discipline and exactitude, which is like teaching math to a cat. But that’s exactly why—when it comes out right—it’s so very, very rewarding.
Things to do with homemade blueberry jam:
  1. Spread it on toast
  2. Make the best darn PB&J you’ve ever eaten
  3. Swirl it into yogurt for food-of-the-gods-good blueberry yogurt
  4. Warm it up a little and spoon it on top of cheesecake or vanilla ice cream
  5. Sneak into the kitchen in the middle of the night and eat it straight from the jar
  6. Give it as a gift, if you’re a nicer person than me

1 comment:

  1. Your blueberry jam straight from the jar is amazing!