27 August 2009

Jam, revisited

Could someone please inform me when summer stuck it's foot out the door? Please? Because today is chilly and rainy, and I have less than a week to go until I have to turn up to teach again, and I have a test, that's right--you heard me--a test at school (also) in under a week. Let's not get too carried away: I am in no way mourning the hot humidity, but another week of not doing a whole lot would be nice. Hello? Summer gods? Is there anyone around to listen? Anyone?

Luckily, I received a lagniappe of fresh plums from my CSA this week--since so many people are on vacation, attempting to soak up that last bit of August, there was more fruit left over than you could shake a stick at. So much that each volunteer was able to take home as much fruit as they could carry, which made the guy with the pregnant wife very, very happy. Apparently, she's been craving fruit. Not a terrible craving to have, if you ask me.

So I made jam out of my plums--pretty much a redux of last year's experiment. It's so lovely and beautiful, and a gorgeous shade of pink. This year, I added some ginger, though it didn't come through all that well. But that's OK. Now there's at least a little summer left for the rest of the year to come--a bright reminder of the fleeting pleasures of the market, and of summer at it's peak.

Ginger, Vanilla, and Plum Jam

2-2 1/4 pounds plums
1/3 cup + 1/4 cup tablespoons vanilla sugar, to taste
1/2 vanilla bean
1 two-inch thumb of ginger, peeled and cut into three pieces

1. Cut your fruit into bite-sized pieces and put in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the sugar and the vanilla bean, and cover with a parchment lid, placed right onto the fruit. Let sit 30-45 minutes, to macerate the fruit--some of the liquid will start to leech out and sit at the bottom of the pot.

2. Remove the vanilla bean, and scrape out the seeds from the pod--add them into the plum mixture. Discard pod. Put the pot over high heat, and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature and let lazily simmer until the jam reaches the consistency that you want. (Mine took about 30 minutes.)

3. Pour into jam jars, leaving some space at the top. If you're not going to sterilize your jars, keep the jam in the refrigerator.

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