My utter and complete devotion to jam is well-known to my friends and should come as no surprise to any of you, who are keenly aware that I spend most of my eating life trying to find the most efficient way to acquire the diabeets.
Jam in all its forms is delightful to me - when my mom read the book Bread and Jam for Frances to me as a kid, I could never understand how Frances eventually got tired of her "all bread and jam" diet and finally went back to spaghetti. I assumed it was because she was a badger and not a human child.
It is surprising, then, that, given my devotion to jam and my worries over the coming zombie apocalpyse, I have never actually made MY OWN JAM. But all of that changed last week, when Sust, an expert in food preservation keen to pass on her skillz, took me out to Westham Island to get me started in my new career as a jam artisan. Now, here are some photos.
I love Sust because she doesn't fuck around. Sure, we went to a Bissett Berry Farms, a U-Pick Farm, but we had no intention of we-picking. Sust had called ahead to make sure there was a wide selection of "they-picked" fruit available for our jam project. So you can imagine our chagrin when we arrived and found that the farm had failed to update their voicemail and that the berries they had were not the berries we were looking for.
"The tayberries are available for u-pick," the farm girl said brightly. "It's easy pickings out there, if it makes a difference. People are coming back with full boxes after only ten or twenty minutes!"
It was a beautiful day and I didn't know what tayberries were, so after some minor grumbling, Sust and I grabbed some boxes and headed out to the fields.
This is what half an hour of "easy picking" looks like. Not shown - scratches, bug bites, sunburn, sweaty butt crack, juice stain under my boob in the shape of Elvis.
At Emma Lea Farms, we each picked up a flat of raspberries and Sust bought even more blueberries and I bought a large number of cherries because they are awesome.
Then we stopped off at Westham Island Herb Farm, which was the cutest farm ever and I want to live there.
They didn't have berries for sale but who fucking cares DONKEYS
Artfully arranged vintage farm implements
After a delightful break for lunch during which former American Sust tried to explain to our perplexed waiter that "iced tea" should not contain sugar, we hit the Save-On and Canadian Tire for canning supplies. FUN!
Once Sust dropped me off at home, I wanted to lie down but berries were a-spoilin'! So I made like Ma Ingalls and got to picking over some berries. I did the tayberries first, because I'd found what looked like an awesome tayberry jam recipe on Chef Heidi Fink's site.
Here are the prepped tayberries on the stove.
Now, with sugar! At this point, I was ready to stop and just eat it as is, but I didn't want to waste all of Sust and Chef Heidi Fink's canning advice.
I brought the jam to a boil.
And then I stopped taking pictures because OH MY GOD, BOILING JAM, WHY ISN'T IT GELLING, SHOULDN'T IT BE GELLING, FUCKBALLS, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS POT, WHY WON'T IT - WHY CAN'T I GET IT TO - FUCK! FUCK! WHAT THE BALLS IS HAPPENING NOW WITH THIS GODDAMN MAGNETIZED LID LIFTER
Then the next day, I made raspberry. JAMS!!
The tayberry jam turned out very well - despite my initial gelling issues, it firmed up real nice. I used WAAAAAY less sugar in the raspberry batches, so it turned out a little looser but still real tasty. So I called it "compote". Because "raspberry sauce" sounds like you fucked it up but "raspberry compote" sounds deliberate. YOU'RE WELCOME.