Monday, March 23, 2009

Just One Jam Thing After Another

I've spent some time in the past couple of days looking at my pantry and thinking, I've got a lot of jars to go through before this year's preservation season begins.

I mean, I cannot believe how much I still have on hand! Clearly I hit a level of self-sufficiency in food supplies this past year, so now I've got a better idea of what to plan for each year.

But how on earth will I get through the majority of it in about three months?

And the section that I'll have the hardest time plowing through? The jam.

So I steeled myself over the weekend to begin the self-sacrificing task of forcing myself to eat more sweet, fruity, delicious jam. Oh, darn.

I started on Saturday by whipping up a small pan of my usual jam streusel bars (a variation on my fruit-date bars), using half a pint of raspberry jam from 2007 (along with local butter, wheat flour, and oats). I thought the bars would make a good addition to my lunches this week.

Of course, I shared a couple with the Renaissance Man over the weekend, and wouldn't you know it, already I'm running low for my lunch stash.

So this evening I pulled out a recipe I'd been longing to try: a buttery tart shell filled with a thick grape butter, reminiscent of the grape fry pies I'd get at the farmers' market last summer.

I made only half a batch of dough, using it to line a small round pottery baking dish, and added about half a pint of grape butter for the filling.

A little over half an hour later, I had a warm and fragrant tart with the rich and potent taste of Concord grapes bubbling from the bottom of the dish. I have to pat myself on the back because the grape butter turned out beautifully thick and with the right combination of sweet and tart flavors -- patience does pay!

That might just get me through a couple more lunches (and dinners) this week.

And if not? I'll just have to bake something else with another jam jar.

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At 3/24/2009 7:41 AM, Blogger Ed Bruske said...

Jennifer, I can definitely second that emotion. And since I am the person in our family who pays any attention (e.i. eats) what's in the preserves larder, the task is doubly daunting now that I am restricting carbohydrates in my diet. We've been trading our canned goods with neighbors for venison.

At 3/24/2009 7:45 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

That's a great idea, Ed. I wonder if I should set up a canned goods swap around here? Not looking for venison, of course, but I'd be open to other trades...

At 3/25/2009 2:55 PM, Blogger Tara said...

I'm in sort of the same, uh, jam. I've got loads of my super tart grape jelly to use up. Maybe a baked good would be just the ticket to get my family to actually eat the stuff!

At 3/25/2009 2:57 PM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Can't hurt, Tara! Since I only used half the jar of grape butter, I'm thinking about what else to use it in -- and I keep thinking about peanut butter... hmmmm.......

At 3/26/2009 4:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, wow! That looks great.

99% of our jam gets stirred into homemade yogurt, "fruit-on-the-bottom" style.

At 3/27/2009 7:14 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

I've been doing that lately, too, Emily -- just haven't been around to use all that much, so I'm trying to spread it around (ha ha) to share. :-)


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