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Fallen Fruit: A KWB reports…

August 13, 2008

Surrender your fruit! KWB Suzanne W got jammy with the Fallen Fruit brigade last week and is now a full fledged jamming machine. This is her story…

“There’s an Echo Park art collective that maps out public fruit trees in various Los Angeles neighborhoods, and for the last three years they’ve sponsored a summertime jam-making festival. They provide the pectin, sugar, burners, pots, workspace (plastic tablecloths in a cleared-out gallery), and much gleaned fruit. And, most importantly, the know-how. It was chaos by the time I arrived, and hot as hell to boot – swarming people of many ages (although mostly young ages) fanning their flushed faces and carrying bags and baskets and bowls of fruit in various stages of processing: whole, cut up, and mixed and waiting for a pot on a burner.

I was guided to a table of youthfully exuberant art students, whose mix-and-match-and-DIY clothing aesthetic was mirrored in their jam-making. “Figs? Dude, let’s put some of those in too.” The pile (5 cups of fruit to go with the 5 cups of sugar) grew ever larger and ever more mixed: kumquat, including chopped peel, met with fig, met with plum, and some treefall apricot-looking fruits, and some lemon, and at the last-minute, dripping and unbelievably sweet mulberries.

First came the fruit and pectin, brought to a rolling boil. Then came the sugar and a second rolling boil, which meant it was time to ladle on into waiting jars, with stained oven mitts protecting hands from scalding-hot jam and burning-hot glass. I had been skeptical about our over-the-top combination, but as we stirred it became increasingly aromatic, and by the time it was done, it had become the most delicious jam I have ever had. Ever.


It is perfectly complemented by the dark rye made by the Russkis across the street.

And so I am hooked. Today I sterilized an old jar and made a petite one-jar batch of peach/nectarine/plum/blackberry jam, with a hint of rosemary. Next on the agenda: incorporating lavender. But how? And into what? So much to think about…”

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. G.I. Jew permalink
    August 13, 2008 5:05 am

    While I’m at it, here’s another summertime recipe that involves boiling, just in case your kitchens aren’t hot enough. I think it came from the NYT some years ago, and I’m making it at least once a week:

    Ginger Beer
    1 cup simple syrup
    ¾ lb ginger, roughly chopped (but unpeeled)
    Sparkling water
    3-4 lemons or limes

    1. Combine the syrup and the ginger in a small saucepan with 2 cups of tap water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the ginger is tender and the volume has decreased by about half. Strain the liquid through a sieve.
    2. Fill a tall glass with ice and add ¼ cup of the ginger syrup. Fill to the top with sparkling water and the juice of a lemon or lime. Serve with a straw.

    Notes:
    a. I reuse the ginger and make the recipe again right away. I don’t think it’ll sustain a third boil, though.
    b. I’ve made lime juice ice cubes, and just throw one into the ginger syrup rather than individual glasses.
    c. Add rum for a Dark and Stormy. Yum. My Maryland friend suggests Jack as well, but I haven’t tried it…

  2. 10yearchallenge permalink
    August 13, 2008 5:17 am

    I’ve been making freezer jams this summer. It’s even easier and a lot of fun. You can buy a freezer jam pectin at the store and get the simple instructions from the box.

  3. August 13, 2008 5:28 am

    That looks so amazing.

  4. August 14, 2008 2:01 am

    What a wonderful idea and a great story. Public jam!

  5. August 15, 2008 9:55 pm

    YIKES! Sound great!

    Denise
    http://WineFoodPairing.blogspot.com

  6. August 19, 2008 2:56 am

    What a fascinating way to introduce people to jam making. I love it–a mix of socialist ideals with bohemian joy = yummy jam.

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