We always have "bread and butter" on jam making day as part of our supper.
It usually takes us a little while to realize how smart, our Mom was. Sometimes it will come upon us, as we prepare something for the first time and we just “know” how to do it, accurately. When finished, we might even have that a-ha moment, of complete and total understanding.
Other times we might have a memory flashback to something that happened in our childhood, and realize that, Mom wanted us to learn and grow on our own. Those were the times we were left us to our own devices, so that we could. You might even recall working on a project, listening to her suggestions, and later wishing you had taken them. Mom would praised the work, just the same.
If we were to move out as soon as we thought we knew everything, most kids would move out at about age 13. And then move right back in, 20 minutes later, because what we thought we knew, was really just a 13 year old talking! I know it takes living and working as an adult, before you understand the wisdom of your own Mom.
Fortunately it is never too late to say thanks and express how you feel. Or to show respect for the ways that were taught and lived daily, should Mom no longer be there. My own Mom is not with us anymore. I think of my Mom often, most of it is good, and some, well we just won’t go there! You see, my Mom could be bold and loud, (did I mention loud?) in how she approached life and also, how she talked, if you know what I mean!
Growing up, we were well fed, noisy, but poor. Of course we did not know we were poor, and I did not know we were noisy. I thought everyone lived like we did. But as I spent time with friends during grade school, I realized that no, everyone did not live like us. Their houses were quiet, with less kids in those houses! During these years, I was too young to understand the concept of creativity, but (fortunately) not too young to absorb it! And Mom was creative, in many many ways.
One time Mom had a can of green paint, I don't remember now if it was purchased or bartered for. But I do remember it was not really the right color for a living room. So she took it to the paint store and asked them to add a tube of yellow tint and shake it for her. She came home and painted the living room a nice cozy blue.
Our clothes were mended and passed down from kid to kid. When there was no one left to pass it to, she would have a “rummage” sale. Of course frequently our clothes started out from a rummage sale, so it was only right to complete the circle. She would trade what we had in excess for things we needed, when possible. Mom was also good about giving to others. Since she was never one to turn down anything for free, she was happy to share, when or what she could.
But food was where Mom was the most creative. She was willing to think outside the box to make a recipe work, or I should say, make the ingredients work. We were spoiled by her good food, and plenty of it. She knew if the food did not look and taste good, it might be wasted. That is probably a huge exaggeration, since 5 kids and a hungry husband kept her fairly busy in the kitchen. There was very little waste, and I am thinking probably none. I don't remember many leftovers in our refrigerator, as a kid.
This June when my niece was married, my Mom inspired the wedding gift I put together for the bride and groom. It was a fun project and I gave credit to Mom, in the greeting I wrote. I felt it important to share that part of history with not only my niece, who was young when Mom first fell ill, but her new husband as well. It also was a way for Mom to be a part of my niece's wedding. All of us "kids" liked having Mom at the wedding.
I have been thinking about all of this today because of jam.
This delicious jam recipe is from Alice Waters. As you can imagine, it tastes wonderful and is beautiful as well. The two ingredients, strawberry rhubarb and ruby grapefruit, cook to a beautiful crimson color. A beautiful sight indeed, in the pantry and as part of a gift basket.
Sometimes the rhubarb from the garden is a greener color than I would like to use for this jam. I have also noticed that grapefruit labeled “ruby” are just pink, when you get them home and cut them in half.
When this happens, the jam is delicious, but a dull brown/greenish color. Not pretty at all, and truthfully not received well when given as gifts. I still have a couple of jars of this delicious, but unfortunate looking jam, from last year. I will eat it, it is delicious, just not pretty!
Again, these "ruby" fruits do not live up to the name!
Oh how I long to make beautiful, crimson colored jam. So I asked myself, what would Mom do?
I knew that she would of taken the ingredients that she had and used them to make the best batch of jam possible. And that is when a solution came to me, use a small portion of my home grown raspberries to get that beautiful crimson color. Lets make jam..........shall we?
Crimson Rhubarb Grapefruit Jam
adapted from: Alice Waters
2 pounds rhubarb, crimson if possible sliced 1/4 inch - this is cleaned and ready to use, 2 pounds.
2 (organic) ruby grapefruits*, juice from both and the zest from one
1 c raspberries
4 c sugar
Combine the grapefruit juice and raspberries, simmer 5 minutes or until raspberries are soft. Press through a sieve to remove seeds.
The grapefruit/raspberry juice is very crimson,
this will make a pretty batch of jam.
Combine rhubarb, sugar, zest and raspberry/grapefruit mixture in a large heavy bottom stainless steel kettle. Let sit 1 hour (or overnight). Prepare six 8oz jelly jars and lids according to manufactures instructions. Place a plate in the freezer to check thickness of preserves. Bring preserves to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.
Continue to cook and stir 12 minutes, warning the preserves will boil up the side of the pan and may splatter. Stir constantly to prevent sticking and scorching. To test thickness, place a small spoonful of preserves onto the chilled plate, the plate should cool the preserves quickly.
When the preserves are chilled from the plate, they should be thick enough not to run, quickly across the plate. If not thick enough for your preference, continue cooking another minute or two. Check thickness again.
Here is a another great tip, from Mom. Place clean jars in a larger glass pan upside down, add 2 inches of water. Keep in a 350 degree oven until needed.
Fill jars to 1/4 inch from the top. Attach lids and rings, secure tightly. Place jars in boiling water bath, process 10 minutes.
Let sit on counter to cool. Makes 6 full jars and some for now. I tested the little bowl of preserves, just to be sure this is good. Oh yeah, good and pretty!
* If you are unable to get organic grapefruit, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add your grapefruits (weigh them down with a plate, they will float) and boil for 3 - 5 minutes. You want to melt any wax coating off the rind. Then proceed with the recipe as written.
As always, thanks for stopping by.
I appreciate your visits, very much!
this post will be shared with:
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