Living for the Revel (catvalente) wrote,
Living for the Revel

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Jam and the Holograms

Behemoth goes forth.

In non-kitten news, I have successfully created jam!

Normally, this is the kind of suspicious mad-science style of cooking I don't like to attempt for the first time without backup, but backup was not forthcoming, so I had to brave the boiling fruit and pectin wilds myself.

Inspired by regyt's wonderful jams, which I am still hoarding, I decided to give it a shot myself. This seems like the kind of old-school domestic chore whose successful completion should earn one some kind of laser-bolt  or acid-dart powers. It involves Dread Alchemy, after all.

So we went apple picking, and went overboard, and it's not like they let you put the things back on the trees, so we have *mumble mumble* pounds of apples in the kitchen, and the cats have been playing soccer with them. It's been apple pies and apple everything around here--I even made apple pecan tarts with apple caramel-cream sauce the other day. All avoiding the jam project because it's a teensy bit scary and I was guaranteed to burn myself. (I totally did.)

But I eventually got to mushing and squishing, and made nice apple mash to boil. I put in fresh herbs from our garden, (which I had spent the early part of the day harvesting, washing, and preserving) which are hanging in bunches from the hallway door and fill me with delight. I got my mulling spices together to make it apple-piey flavored. And at this point, predictably, mild disaster struck. The cinnamon cap fell off and there was a cinnamon tsunami in my jam. I scooped most of it out, but the first batch is labelled "Spicy Apple Jam" and it's no frigging joke. We have, however, found it delicious and great for bagels and meat glazes, however. It would probably be great in sandwiches if we ate jam sandwiches.

But the point is, my jam set! And the jars made the plinking noise! I can createz vacuum? Yes, I can! I was inordinately pleased with Science, doing what it was supposed to. I have now achieved an important post-apocalypse skill.

Further batches proceeded without incident. I made Unintentionally Spicy Apple Flavor, Apple, Sage, and White Pepper, and the success of the night--Thai Pumpkin Butter. It's my own invention and it is so awesome I cannot say, like sweet candy pad thai in a jar. That may sound weird but it is not, it is awesome. Recipe below. I will be making Apple Chardonnay later tonight and Caramel Apple at some point soon. It is so much easier than I thought--some of you may remember that I read and severely disliked a post-apocalypse novel called Into the Forest, whose theme seemed to be "girls and the apocalypse don't mix." There was a scene of them preserving the fruits of their summer garden, and it described this unimaginably brutal process, like working the steam-laundries in Hell. I hate the book but the scene was well-described, and I was expecting it to be much harder than this. But it wasn't! It was easy! Those girls suck in yet another way!

I am absurdly proud of myself. It's silly, but it's a mom skill I'm not even sure my mom has, and I taught myself to do it. And then played a Bach minuet on the piano. Am not useless, hooray!

And if you are local, you may get jam for Christmas.

Thai Pumpkin Butter

1 can pumpkin (I am not so hardcore as to cook down the raw stuff, but if you are, knock yourself out)
1 cored apple, pureed
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup fruit juice (whatever you like, I used orange, which gave it a very bright flavor)
2 tablespoons Curry powder
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1/3 cup lime juice
1/3-1/2 cup peanut butter
Optional: 10 or so saffron threads (I found this warmed the flavor in a nice, subtle way, but you can skip it if you like)

Combine pumpkin, apple, sugar, and juices in pot, bring to boil, being careful not to let the pumpkin burn. Add spices--I tend to throw in a little of this and a little of that, so increase curry spices to taste. Boil all together for 2 minutes, then scoop into clean jam jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Let set 24 hours.

This is savory and sweet, great on bagels, toast, anything that needs spicing up. Would be great in a spice cake, probably. It is not, however, quite sweet enough to be a dessert on its own or put on ice cream or anything.

Alas, no acid-darts. What do I have to do for acid-darts, dammit?
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