It’s getting to be that time of year again! Time to drag out my canner, check my cases of jars, see what supplies I need, and plan my 2009 jams. I just heard from the manager of my local organic produce shop. She tells me to expect lots of fresh New Jersey blueberries in this weekend. Blueberry jam is one of my favorites to make. It’s comparatively easy since the fruit really doesn’t need nearly as much prep work as say peaches or strawberries. I typically do a low-sugar recipe to let the fresh fruit flavors shine through and use a pectin that gels based on the calcium content, not the sugar. I was thinking that this year I would love to use New Jersey honey for my sweetener instead of sugar to make it a completely NJ jam, but then I’m stuck on the lemons. I do add a little lemon juice, and I have yet to see lemons grown in New Jersey. Times like this I really miss California and the beautiful Meyer lemons from my friend’s garden!
So, tell all. What kinds of jam do you like? What flavors should I make this year? I have done all of the following: apricot, peach, strawberry, strawberry-peach, blueberry, and I think that’s it, though I may be missing some. Oh yes, vanilla peach. I am hoping my mother-in-law will give me some of her wild raspberry and wild blackberry jams and jellies, so I don’t need to worry about the expense of those. I plan to do at least two kinds, three at the max. Any ideas for other flavors or blends?
A store clerk once asked me why I bother, since one can buy yummy low-sugar jams already made for not too much money. I don’t trouble myself with questions like that. It’s not about saving time or being as cost effective as possible. It’s about keeping the skill of canning alive even in an urban environment, taking control of one tiny piece of my consumption, and being able to share something I’ve made with friends and family.