I have been having one of those weeks when things just don't work. Finally I decided damn it, I will just drop everything that is difficult and recreate that cranberry-pomegranate jam I ate in Vermont. Of course, it's a little hard to recreate the actual taste, so I decided to just go for the general idea using whatever I had on hand. Did you know that one pomegranate yields very little juice? About 2 tablespoons. Scarcity being the mother of improvisation, I turned to grapefruit, which are very juicy and pulpy. Grapefruit pulp seemed to beg for a little orange peel and thus my jam turned into:
(yeild: much less than you would expect, about three of those little jam jars)
- 1 pint cranberries
- 1 pomegranate juiced ( a few tablespoons)
- Pulp of 2 large Rio Star grapefruits-approx. 1 cup
- peel of one organic orange
- 2 Cups sugar
- 1 Tablespoon honey (If you have some nearby)
Juice the pomegranate by whirring the seeds in a blender and then straining the juice. (Or just buy some juice.) Scoop the grape fruit sections out into a measuring cup. Use a vegetable peeler to remove orange part of the peel and then chop finely. Put all the ingredients into a heavy, wide pan with the two cups of sugar and slowly bring to a boil. (A dutch oven is ideal.)
Clean off your counter and find some jars and lids. You won't need to process this jam because you will be eating or giving it all away within one short week. I swear! Start another pot of water to boil with the jars submerged. Put a cutting board next to the jam pan, and get out a ladle.
When it starts to look like jam, use a thermometer to check the temperature. It should get to 218 to 220 degrees Farenheit. If it doesn't get that hot even after boiling for awhile, add some sugar: about 2 Tablespoons at a time. Science Tip: This creates a denser solution that can hold more heat/energy. If you don't feel like being scientific or live at a higher altitude, use the wrinkle test. There is a lot of pectin in these ingredients so, it should jell pretty easily. Once the jam is ready, sterilize your ladle and lids by putting them in the boiling water, remove the jars and fill them with the jam. Done!
If you ever read books on canning, they always stress the importance of cleanliness. A lot. This is partly because of germs, but also because once you are in the process of lifting jars out from boiling water, ladling scalding hot liquids, and applying sterilized lids, you don't want to be searching under old toast for your lid lifter. I thought I had done a pretty good job, but this is what my counter looked like. (I'm not sure why I needed butter or olive oil) I do find that an an old glove finger stretcher ( on cutting board) is the best tool for holding a thermometer over boiling water, but you may need to substitute.
For years, I have been reading craft and cooking blogs and wonder how those amazing women managed to be so creative, raise healthy children, have perfect looking homes, and have time to blog about it. Now, I have unlocked the secret: macro-photography and photo-cropping. Instead of including shots like that directly above, you zoom in very close, past the mess, to the creation.
I am currently trying to apply this method to my outlook of the house in general.