Sunday, August 24, 2008

the jam plan

MONICA: I needed a plan, a plan to get over my man. What's the opposite of man? Jam.
-Friends (The One with the Jam)

yesterday was the best day ever. woke up all early and hit up the farmer's market for some fresh california fruit...the kind that i won't be able to find in delaware. the plan? to make it last all winter. and make everyone jealous of my exclusive fruit stock. it's the jam plan.

what's a fruit you can't find in delaware? pluots! the lovechild of a plum and an apricot, the pluot has a variation of flavors, all with really cute names. cotton candy. flavorosa. sweet treat. watermelon. i ended up getting flavor king and dapple dandy [which i thought was called apple dandy...which i like better, so i'm going to pretend i put that on the labels on purpose].

you can't rep california's summer fruit selection without strawberries and peaches :]

even though i've never done jam before, i kinda ignored the directions i found because a) i only wanted a couple jars of each kind [who needs 9 jars of strawberry jam?! honestly] and b) there were no instructions for pluot jam. so i decided to pioneer this feat on my own. i mean, seriously, what's the worst that could happen? if it was too thick, i'd use it for baking. if it was too soupy? pour it on pancakes! that's my kind of mistake ;]

so here's what i ended up doing...sweet and simple. [ps: i don't like lemons, so i used lime juice instead. it made the jam slightly sweeter, which is how i like it.]

pluot jam

3 cup pitted and sliced pluots
3-4 cups Splenda [or sugar, if you like it like that]
2 Tbsp lime juice [or lemon, if you're normal]
1/2 packet of pectin [2 Tbsp i think]

1. Place a small bowl in the freezer.

2. Wash the jars in the dishwasher to sterilize or boil for 10 min in a large pot with a couple inches of water above the top of the jars. The jars should be placed on a little rack inside the jar (or some jar bands tied together) to keep them from direct heat. Keep the jars hot until ready to use.

3. Cover lids with a couple inches of water in a small saucepan and heat, without boiling while you prepare the jam.

4. Simmer the pluots with a 2-3 Tbsp of water for 5 minutes.

5. Combine pluots with lime juice in a wok or large, deep frying pan over med to med-high heat. Gradually stir in pectin. Let come to a hard boil.

6. Add Splenda and stir to dissolve. Keep stirring until the color deepens, most water evaporates, and mixture begins to thicken.

7. Take the bowl out of the freezer. Scoop a little of the jam into the cold bowl and wait like 30 seconds. This will show you the consistency of the jam. If thick enough to your liking, turn off heat and proceed to step 8. If it is still thin and runny, keep stirring and repeat a few minutes later.

8. Skim off foam into the bowl. Carefully remove jars from the pot, using tongs or a jar lifter, and set them on a towel on the counter [putting hot jars on a cool counter can cause them to break!]. Using a ladle and/or a jar funnel, pour jam into jars, leaving about 1/8th inch at the top. Wipe off any jam that split on the jar, especially around the rim.

9. Carefully remove lids from the saucepan and center on jars. Screw on the bands tightly. Put the jars back into the large pot and bring to a gentle boil. Process for 10 minutes.

10. Carefully remove them and set them on the towel. Leave for 12 hours or overnight. Then press on the center of the lids. If they don't move, they are sealed. If they pop up and down, reprocess using a new lid.

strawberry and/or peach jam

3 cups sliced strawberries and/or peaches
1 cup Splenda
2 Tbsp lime juice

Follow steps 1-3, above.

Combine fruit with lime juice in a wok or large, deep frying pan over med to med-high heat. Let come to a hard boil.

Follow steps 6-10, above.

CHANDLER: Hey, Joe, I gotta ask. The girl from the Xerox place buck naked (holds up one hand), or, or a big tub of jam. (holds up the other hand)
JOEY: Put your hands together.
MONICA: Joey, take your time with that. That's my last batch.
JOEY: No more jam?!
RACHEL: Well, what happened to your jam plan?
MONICA: I figured out I need to charge seventeen bucks a jar just to break even. So, I've got a new plan now. Babies.
CHANDLER: Well, your gonna need much bigger jars.

homemade jam + fresh bread from the farmer's market
= yumm :]


Stephanie said...

slurpppp, im jealous! never even heard of a pluot!

Grace said...

what a variety--you're definitely set for awhile. i personally have no self-control when it comes to delicious foods, so even though i intend to have things like this last a long time, they never do. good luck pacing yourself throughout the year. :)