The good news is the cool-down has helped spur me along in my knitting. I really lost my mojo this summer (understandably), but I'm such a slow knitter that I know I need to get working if I want to have new things for the girls this year. I may even finish the cardigan I started for myself over six months ago...(cough cough).
I've also been happier to be heating things up in the kitchen. I've baked bread, chocolate quinoa cake (and watched that disappear in a flash!)...and this morning, I used up some too-old plums from the farm box to make quickie jam.
Homemade jam is a revelation. Store-bought cannot hold a candle to it. The flavour (and sense of accomplishment) is top notch. Do I worry about preserving safely with my self-taught methods? A bit. Quickie jam takes that worry away. Quickie jam just uses up whatever too-old (but not bad) fruit or berries you have and gives you a small jar of something heavenly-good to smear on your bread (scone, muffin, bagel...) or stir into your morning oatmeal. It takes far less sugar than regular jam and no pectin. You need to use it up in a week or so, but that is easily done.
You want to try it now, don't you?
The ingredients are very simple: around 1 pound (half a kilo) of fruit or berries and 1/2 cup of sugar or less. I had less than a pound of plums. I sliced them up into large but manageable bits (remember it needs to be spreadable when done) and tossed them into a stainless steel pot with about 1/4 cup of sugar. I cooked it on medium until I bubbled itself down into something gooey and beautiful (30 minutes or so); then, I spooned it into a jar, labeled it with elegant masking tape and put it in the fridge. That was it!
I've also made quickie jam with a punnet of blueberries and half a cup of sugar. You could get fancy with cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans or sliced ginger. It only makes a single jar, so this is a great way to try out flavour combos.
If you want actual recipes and even video instruction, head here to Mark Bittman and the NY Times.
Which flavour jam is calling to you?