Cinnamon Pluot Jam.
Weird things terrify me…moths, for instance. Hate them. Run screaming like a teenage girl in a bad horror flick when I even sense one fluttering in my presence. Up until yesterday, canning scared me, too! Although not on the same level as a moth, the thought of improper sterilization, food borne illness, and ruining a giant batch of jam and wasting all of that fruit caused me to steer clear of the whole process. What changed my mind? My exploding tomato plant. My Beefsteak tomato
tree bush has more than 20 green tomatoes just waiting to ripen. They were taunting me last week, saying, “We’ll all ripen at the same time, THEN what are you gonna do?!” I love tomatoes, but not enough to eat that many within a few days. The thought of any of my little nuggets going bad makes me want to cry because I’ve worked SO hard for a fruitful garden. Then the tantalizing thought of Fall and Winter cooking with my own tomatoes started tickling my thoughts and I decided to bite the bullet, get over myself, and take the food preservation plunge. A friend of mine tried her hand at canning this summer with great success, so I had a glimmer of hope and confidence in my ability to do this. Turns out it’s not so bad! It’s a technical process [don’t deviate from the basics, folks! Do your research, pay attention, and be sure to a) properly sterilize b) follow the recipe c) properly clean the threads of the jars d) properly seal], but an extremely rewarding one. If you’ve been on the fence about canning at home, I highly suggest giving it a try. You won’t be sorry! What better way to truly know what’s coming out of the jar and going into your meal than to be the one putting it in the jar in the first place! I went to bed feeling pretty proud of myself, last night, and of the Cinnamon Pluot Jam I’d just preserved for the chilly days of Autumn.
Okay, so the first “jam” out of the chute tastes amazing (check out the recipe: http://eatingappalachia.com/2010/08/03/cinnamon-pluot-jam), but it is a little more “saucy” than I’d like. The recipe didn’t utilize additional pectin as there is so much natural pectin in the Pluot skins. The recipe actually warned against the sauciness, but the dream of cinnamony pluot jam on toast took me over and for good reason…this jam is fantastic! I’d make this again in a heartbeat, perhaps adding a little less water next time. Next up, a savory Pluot jam (they’re in season, they’re all over the market, and I’m taking advantage!) with balsamic vinegar, rosemary, and lemon zest – I found the recipe on the Bon Appetit website, which suggests that this jam be served over goat cheese atop baguette slices. Um, OKAY! Twist my arm. It will be great, too, over a nice bone-in pork chop or roasted turkey breast.
Between the tasty Pluot concoctions on the shelf and the promise of home-preserved tomatoes on the horizon, Fall and Winter cooking just got turned up a notch.