FIGGY BLACK JAM When Grandma’s son Simon took over his farmhouse in southern France he inherited a splendid black fig tree in the back courtyard, which was always laden with sweet, juicy figs in the late summer. To play up the drama of their dark skins, Grandma would combine them with black currants or blackberries
STRAWBERRY JAM This recipe needs an extra large saucepan as the jam bubbles up very high. It takes all day prepare but Grandma is usually about the house and can stir the fruit mixture from time to time while it macerates with the sugar to draw out the juice. Then comes the boiling of the
SEVILLE ORANGE MARMALADE The streets of the Spanish city of Seville near the Mediterranean are lined with orange trees, the branches glowing with tart golden fruit, perfect for marmalade. Their season is late winter, and one year Leo and Grandma spent a whole afternoon thinly slicing the fruit while looking out over the snow-covered landscape
Peaches are in peak season right now and my favorite way to preserve them is to make jam. This time of year you can find ripe peaches almost anywhere and our local farmer’s market had a bushel at a price that couldn’t be beaten. Making jam is a two-day process as the peaches should macerate with
Raspberry Liqueur is the perfect project for a lazy summer day! Pack 2 lb/l kg raspberries (do not wash them) in a quart/liter/1 2/3 pt canning jar, layering them with an equal weight of sugar. Close the jar loosely so that air can escape and keep it in a cool place. The sugar and fruit
Every January I look forward to my annual marmalade making. The dark days of winter lighten up and my home fills with the delicious aroma of simmering citrus peel. Los Angeles is known for its backyard citrus with neighborhood orange trees dating back to the early 1920s. Some of these oranges are simply too bitter
For the serious country cook, bachelor or not, these fruits macerated in alcohol are a summer-long project. First into the jar go cherries. Then, as the season advances, apricots, peaches, greengage or yellow Mirabelle plums, red plums, and finally plump green or purple figs follow. Each layer is sweetened with sugar and covered with white alcohol, which in the old days was locally distilled and could taste like rocket fuel. The spirit permeates the fruit and prevents it from fermenting, while the fruit juice slowly imbues the liquid, creating a bracing liqueur. After a three-month wait—or longer if you can manage to wait—the fruits are ready to serve.
For this romantic jelly, you need a garden of full-blown pink or red roses, their petals about to fall, together with a tree of sour apples. Luckily, these demands can be simplified, as the recipe proceeds in two parts: first comes a jelly made with little crab apples (the sour apples used to make cider), then the rose petals are added and the jelly is boiled again to the jell point. Work can be minimized if you substitute a larger tart apple such as Granny Smith, or use ready-prepared apple jelly (you will need about 2 pounds/1 liter). Then all you must pick are the roses, the more fragrant the better. A golden pink, elusively fragrant jelly will be your reward. Makes four 1 cup/250 ml jars