Every season bares the fruits of an orchestra within our culinary creations. During autumn, the sounds of such may come in the merry form of crackles and cackles spitting on fire pits, large cauldrons with charred sides and pan lids that chime.
They may come from the melodies of collections of jars clinking and the boiling and bubbling of berries and zest and all things sweet a stewing and a brewing. And this certain form of musicality brings that which will sit on kitchen shelves over the darkening winter months, in remembrance of all that grew from seed, drank in sunlight and rain and fell to the ground as summer softly turned. Yes. This particular making of a glorious heady concoction upon the heat is in lay-folk terms, most widely known as JAM.
So, my invitation to you starts with gathering firewood and kindling, foraging blackberries and wind-fall, bringing new life to old marmalade vessels and donning your wooden spoon. For now it’s time to get sticky!
A harvest of wild blackberries, home-grown raspberries, limes, ginger, cardamom, sugar and plums…
This could arise with friends sitting around the fire as the sun sets. Or in your kitchen with your children perched on stools. It could begin with an inheritance of pumpkin puree jars that you lovingly scrapped off the labels from old Bostonian flatmates on the Roman Road in Bethnal Green in 1998. Or with your ancestors who taught you the giddy alchemy of preserves and an honouring of their witchcraft.
From the beloved hearth of your beginning in all its forms, now take to making your music. Wash, dice and chop the array of fruits, knowing the only telling of what you need is that which you have at hand. Prepare the melding of sugars, spices, water and zests of citrus. Then ignite your flame fully and… MAKE. SOME. JAM!
From here the journey will undoubtedly be messy. It will be hot. It will be very, very colourful. And it will require a great many, if not every single one you possess, tasting spoons and dishcloths to wipe deep crimson stains from your table tops.
This recipe does not belong in the tombs of perfection. Nor does it lie with a fine art. Its song is more for your delight, for your creating divinity with hedgerows that have danced with the nectar of a blackbird’s chorus and your beautiful belly’s wisdom of making heavenly pots of sumptuousness to eat on toast tomorrow morning.
Ladle when cooled, label with love, place in the fridge and most importantly ~
Bless the jammin’ in every form.