Sunday, March 25, 2007

Marmalade, take one

This is not my first attempt at jammish endeavors. Last weekend I bought early strawberries at the Alemany Farmer's Market and attempted to make a batch. The strawberries themselves were pretty unimpressive, as perhaps should be expected in March. I didn't add enough lemon to account for the lack of pectin in the berries and made an ill-considered grab for a metal sieve that had been too close to the stove, resulting in a pretty track of blisters across my palm.

However, I found canning supplies in my neighborhoodish (thank you, Rainbow) and was delighted with my first visit to Alemany. I disembarked the Bernal Heights bus under a freeway and couldn't remember the Google Map path to the action. Luckily, one of my fellow passengers was headed in that direction and tipped me on the best approach to the narrow aisle setup of this particular market.

So this weekend: marmalade. I've given up on berries until the season strikes. At one vendor I found excellent Oro Blanco grapefruits, which led me to a recipe for orange-lemon-grapefruit marmalade from Marion Brown's 1955 Pickles and Preserves.

First I peeled thin strips from the skins with a potato peeler, discarding seeds and pith, of which there was a disturbing amount on that grapefruit. After letting the juice and fruit stew overnight on the counter, I boiled the concoction for ten minutes and set it aside to rest. Then...then nothing, because it's still Sunday. But it looks like I'm waking up early tomorrow to process some marmalade.


Monday, March 19, 2007

So this is my very first post about jam

Why jam you ask?

A valid question.

Over the weekend I went to the Vivienne Westwood exhibit at the DeYoung with my friend Belen. After ogling at the profane t-shirts and shredded ballgowns, we stopped at the museum cafe for a glass of wine.

I told her that I was exhausted by the cycle of working late on spreadsheets, drinking $14 cocktails at Financial District bars, and collapsing into bed, only to wake the next day and do it again. One day I had a tough time figuring out an Excel formula, and when I finally nailed it I said, "Take that, bitch!" To the spreadsheet. Out loud.

So I needed something else, I told her.

"And that sometheeng...eees jam?" she asked. Spanish accents make pointed questions more charming, somehow.

Yeah, I guess, so that something is jam. I'm making jam in my little studio apartment in the Mission district of San Francisco. On Saturday morning I buy the fruit at the Alemany farmer's market, prepare it on Saturday afternoon, and bottle it on Sunday. At least that's the plan.