Though I still have a crisper drawer of stonefruit that needs to be used post haste, the truth of the matter is that the summer canning season is starting to wind down. Apples and pears are in the markets and I’m certain that it won’t be long before I spot some quince.
While I love the heady glut of berries, beans and tomatoes that summer brings, I also really appreciate the incremental slowdown that fall demands. The frenzy to put up diminishes and June is far enough behind me that it doesn’t seem crazy to crack open a jar of strawberry vanilla jam.
Regularly, I get questions from people wondering how best to use their jams, pickles and other preserves. And truly, I understand where these questions come from. The first year I actively canned, I was really hesitant to open all those jars back up. I had put so much time and effort into them! What if I chose the wrong way to use it?
Happily, I’ve gotten over those initial struggles and the fruits of my canning habit are deeply woven through my everyday life. To that end, I’m adding a new category to this site called Preserves in Action. Sometimes I’ll feature simple applications like the bread, cheese and preserves you see above, and on other occasions, a more thought out recipe will be provided (like those found in the Open Jars series from last winter).
I’m also inviting you all to participate. Take pictures of your own Preserves in Action and post them to the Food in Jars Flickr group. Tag them “preserves in action” and include a brief description. I’ll regularly pick out a few and feature them here on the site.
Oh, and the picture above? It’s two slices of Saint Peter’s Bakery multigrain loaf, gently toasted and topped with Birchrun Blue. The left slice was drizzled with a bit of lemon verbena honey (I’ll show you how I made that later today) and on the right, the damson plum jam from 2010 (it’s a recipe you’ll find in the cookbook). With a peach, it made for a fabulous, quick lunch.
I love this idea! I think we could all use more ideas of ways to enjoy our preserves. Looking forward to more Preserves in Action 🙂
I am waiting patiently to hear about the lemon verbena honey. I have an abundance of this herb. I did make a simple syrup with lemon verbena for my tea… and its a great lemon sweetness to add to my herbal tea.
Great idea! I make a lot of unusual jams and when I give them away, I’m often asked “well, how do I use this?” Honestly, the question makes me cranky, because I figure if I could put the ingenuity into concocting the jam, the recipient should be expected to exercise just an iota of creativity in figuring out how to use it. Why do I have to do all the work? Still, I’ve suppressed my irritation and made a suggestion or two; beyond that, they’re on their own. I’ll look forward to more on this topic from you!
That looks so good. I’ll keep an eye out for Birchrun. So. I eat jam every. day. I often worry that it’s a problem. But how can something like this be a problem?? That’s right. No problem at all!
I’m right there with you regarding the initial inability to open jars of preserved goodies! It takes years to get over the “I must keep that in case ….”. I’ve found the easiest way around this problem is to ensure I’ve enough to give away – thereby absolving myself of any responsibility! Thanks for sharing your knowledge – love reading your blog.
I’ve only recently found your blog and notice that you often refer to recipes that are “in the cookbook”. Is this a cookbook you have published? If so, where would be the most likely place to find a copy? At various times in my life, I’ve been interested in canning food and only got as far as making apple butter in the crockpot and freezing it. You’ve helped to rekindle that interest and now I’m gearing up for next summer. So some good recipes for canning sounds like a necessity to me! Just let me know the particulars on yours. Thanks bunches!
Mary, I recently wrote a cookbook but it hasn’t come out yet. It will be called Food in Jars and will be published by Running Press in 2012.