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Cranberry Apple Chutney

Cranberry Apple Chutney Thanksgiving dinner is delicious, but it can be very, very sweet. Cornbread in the stuffing (and sometimes fruit), waldorf (or jello!) salad, sweet potatoes (maybe even with marshmallows) and of course, pie. By the time you get to cranberry sauce, palate fatigue may be an understatement. Enter the savory answer to cranberry sauce — cranberry chutney. Still red, still beautiful, and still, frankly, sweet (it does complement poultry!) but vinegar, salt and spices give it a savory edge that is a welcome counterpoint to a sweet Thanksgiving table. Chutney is one of those underappreciated condiments — it livens up everything from hot roast turkey to cold ham to a cheese sandwich. It’s far easier to make than jam – no worry about setting, and it’s an excellent gift to have handy for the holidays (if your Thanksgiving menu is already set). This makes quite a bit — about 8 half pint jars, and can be used right away, refrigerated for a few weeks, or processed in a water bath for 10 minutes and given a shelf life. [...]

Preserving Summer — Tomato Jam

Sweet Tomato Jam
I can’t stop time, but I can preserve the summer just a little, and capture some of my childhood summers at the same time. When I was a little girl, I would spend some of those infinite summers with my great grandmother, eating berries out of her garden, getting into her cookie jar (I can still remember where it was kept), and eating her homemade tomato jam. Not a chutney, or another version of ketchup, the way so many tomato preserves recipes are, but a tomato jam, brightened with lemon, with that musky tomato flavor and the pure sweetness of preserved summer. Perfect on toast, for that lazy summer breakfast, this really is summer in a jar. [...]

The Care and Keeping of Strawberries

Springtime is strawberry season! And even though the strawberries aren’t quite there yet (the heavy rains we’ve had in California have really impacted the flavor), that hasn’t stopped me from buying and eating pounds of them — I’ve loved them since I was a baby. For your reading pleasure, below are 10 things you may not know about my favorite fruit. Strawberries [...]

Gifts from the Kitchen: Pear and Vanilla Preserves

Pear Jam 1 I was very sad to have missed the summer jam season this year. With all the craziness around buying the house and moving, I never got around to putting up plum jam, or strawberry balsamic, or peach and basil, and my stash from last year is getting dangerously low. Fortunately, I still have a few seasonal fruit tricks up my sleeve. Like this pear jam with vanilla beans, which will make your heart swell with domestic pride and impress anyone you care to give it to. [...]

Jammin’ — Plum Jam


Skip straight to recipe I have a confession to make. I have not been entirely truthful with all of you. I have been cooking this summer, but not dinner, and not dessert. I have been making jam.
I understand jam making to be the latest trend among “hipsters” (google “hipster” and “canning” and you’ll see what I mean.) I never really thought of myself as a hipster, I mean, I’m certainly not a hippie because I don’t like hiking or Phish, and I can’t be a yuppie because it’s not 1987, so I turned to Urbandictionary.com to determine if I am, in fact, a hipster. A quick skim of the 138 definitions of hipster yields a person in their 20′s or 30′s (yes) who lives in Brooklyn (no), values “creativity, intelligence and witty banter” (yes), drinks a lot of Pabst Blue Ribbon (no), sports “high cultural tolerance and a slight tendency towards intellectual arrogance” (yes), is too ironic for their own good (maybe), and is cooler than cool (heck no).
I am still confused.
Prune Plums
What I am not confused about is this: making jam is a) fun b)easy and c) cool (which may be the hipster connection. I’m certainly not putting PBR into my jam). There’s something special about those little jars of homemade preserves, all lined up, ready to be eaten, or given away as gifts, or, if you have a packrat nature (like nobody I know, nosirree) to be stored in the pantry and gazed at lovingly. My husband makes fun of me, pointing out that I have an Ivy League education, am admitted to the Bar in two states, have a successful career and yet I am proud of making jam, something his great-grandmother did on a regular basis without much fuss. So sue me. I’m proud of my jam. I love my jam. I bid thee to go forth and make your own jam. You won’t be sorry. [...]