Jen’s Jam

Nov 6, 2011

Yesterday took the cake…well maybe the pie…for work needing to be done around the kitchen.  Flip spent most of the day cutting his deer into manageable pieces to age in the cooler.  I took the early morning drive over to Orland to the WERU radio station for MOFGA’s monthly radio show, Common Ground.  Congresswoman Chellie Pingree joined us by phone to talk about the Farm Bill.  It was a lively discussion…and one that needs to happen a lot more.

Later in the afternoon, we fired up the kettle and developed the recipe for our latest product: Jen’s Jam.  The inspiration came from my sister Jen…and the cranberries she had given me from Highland Farms of Troy.

We look forward to the fall cranberry harvest each year, anticipating the glossy, red berries, also known as “bounce berries”, because the ripe ones bounce!   They store extremely well in the refrigerator (or root cellar), often for as long as a month, and will keep for over a year in the freezer.

Cranberries have a long been a  part of the New England cuisine.  Native Americans cooked them and dried them to add to winter soups and stews, and also used them as medicines, dyes, and food preservatives.  Early settlers quickly developed a taste for the many varieties growing wild in the fields and woods.

Rich in Vitamin C and potassium, cranberries (along with raspberries, strawberries and loganberries) contain ellagic acid, a natural substance that preliminary research suggests may help to prevent certain types of cancer.  The scarlet berries are a bit too tart to eat without sweetening.  We enjoy them in juice, sauces, relishes, preserves…even ketchup.

This jam was prepared with Sweet Sixteen apples from Wulf Orchard, and Jen’s cranberries.  We first cooked the fruit together…simmering for a long time…and then extracted the seeds and skin.  The extract was a beautiful rosy color…and would have made an excellent sauce…even without sugar.

Adding sugar and a touch of lime juice to accent the tartness…the jam was just right!  131 jars on the shelf…and then we had to try a dessert pizza…puff pastry round spread with about 1/3 cup of jam, baked in a 430 degree oven until nice and golden brown.  Yum!

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