Wednesday, February 18

How to Eat Jam.

Prompted by a post over at Stomper's , I was moved to memory banks.

In this instance "Jam" means the preserve, made with fruit & sugar, mainly, to preserve the bounty of fruit, over the Autumn months, for use in the lean, lacklustre winter months. The making, the bottling, the storing.

Not the type of meaning where one might be 'in a jam' or sticky situation. Nor the meaning of jam, where one is unable to move. Nor the flooding musical experience of a Jam!

"Putting up the preserves", as our Grandmothers would have it.

My Maternal Grandmother was very good at the preserving. The useful use of the season's superfluity. She could take all the fruit,~ about to rot, ~& turn it into magic, sweet jam, for use in the winter, when fresh plums or peaches, apricots, or any other fruit, were unavailable. Even Rhubarb. Remember this.

Apples were a wonderul, bounteous crop, which arrived in buckets. While, perhaps, not so appealing as a jam, it could be made, painstakingly, into the most wonderful, light, delicious, clear jelly.

This brings memories of disused, -but perfectly clean! - stockings. They were filled with the pulp of the cooked apples, & hung to drip, suspended by a wooden spoon, above the perserving pan. The resulting, wonderful clear jelly, was proudly put into jars, labelled, to be admired, for the clarity, & the wonderul flavour!

Heaven help the thoughtless child, that might give the full bag a squeeze, on the way to the toilet!!!

For, in our humble home, the concrete laundry tubs, served as vats for the suspension of the jam/jelly drip systems.
On seeing the bulging stocking, dripping its liquid into a bowl, it was almost impossible, to restrain oneself from giving "the squeeze!!" But.... woe betide if you did, because someone always seemed to keep a tally, on who was out to the laundry-based toilet, when the 'cloud' in the jam/jelly appeared.

As children, we went on berry picking missions. I do not use the word 'missions' lightly. They really were missions. If we failed to return home with non-jamable quantities we never quite lived it down.

Any & all, berries we encountered were to be brought home, unmolested, uneaten, & in good order, for the sizing up, for the making of jams.

The Blackberry, was one of the favourites. Juicy, & so succulent, they would warn a watchdog, by the colour of the stain about the lips, had they been consumed...illegally! This is a Boysenberry. They were prized, for their flavour, sweetness, & longlasting joy, when made into jams, jellies, & puddings.

Tthere were no large freezers available domestically, back in our day. It was all, eat it now, or preserve. So our Grandmother preserved.
The wonderful Passionfruit of our childhood summers, would be made into a syrup preserve, for use when winter was upon us.
The bountiful fruit of summer, was transformed into sweetness & joy for our winter puddings, with sauces, or just bottled fruit, with the joyous taste of summer!
I was never a fan of Rhubarb, (the veg/fruit/ plant.) but a lot of my friends were. One girlfriend used to come to collect a car-bootful of our rhubarb, in the season. So please, regard this vigourous plant behind our Gom & son, in the garden of the day!! I swear, you could not kill that rhubarb! Well, not with thought, anyway!!
This is Meggie, with 2 of our children, & the gift of the vines.

You know what they say,... 'fruit of the vine'..
Good grief, I have forgotten the rest.. Hmmmmn..
And now to a confession of sorts, Stomper!
I have a love of Figs. They are not often available in shops, as fresh fruit.
Some very dear, & caring friends, are aware of this fig love of mine.
They bought me a pot of jam... Fig Jam, in fact.
I was so thrilled, I decided Gom was not to partake of this treat. So. I hid the pot of Fig Jam. Even though, Gom assured me he would not like it.
I know what he is like. He will even eat CHEESE! whe he wants to!! In great quantities, & also with gusto!!
So, I stashed the Fig Jam away, & sneaked it out at intermittent intervals, to slurp from a teaspoon. In secret. In the computer "Dont you dare come in here" room! OMG!! The Fig Jam was just so wonderful!! I loved every morsel. I loved every pip!! It was just luscious!!
So, Stomper, my story of jam snacking is not so terrible... is it??
Here is a further photo of our little new family member.
He, of the rosey cheeks. Or should that now be of the cheeky cheeks!
You gorgeous boy!!
Did any one try the French Onion Soup? We all loved the end result!!
Tomorrow, I have been promised lunch out. I will be 66. Is that a good year, or, who cares!! LOL!!


teodo said...

Interesting the stockings.

The new baby is wonderful ............and you and Gom with the children too.
cioao ciao

Marianna said...

No wonder why jam rhymes with...yamm!!

Such a cute little boy...may his life be full of health and happiness :-)

Take care now
peace and love

Blue Mountains Mary said...

Have a wonderful birthday Miss Meggie...

whilst I stay here a little while longer and drool over your descriptions of jams!

persiflage said...

Happy birthday, dear Meggie. Your boy is truly gorgeous, and I spy a granny rug in the background - also a fine specimen.

I am enjoying all these jam tales. It was a different age, when so many women put down preserves and made jam. My mother and grandmother made them. I am glad to see the next generation has begun to take up the practice.

I started making jam while we were on holidays in Lakes Entrance. Nearby was the most wonderful blackberry patch, which went all the way down the hill. We picked and picked, but could not eat them all up. So I started making jam. From then on each summer I would go into the hills around Canberra and comes back with enough blackberries to eat out fill, freeze for future use, and to make lots of jam. Since I moved here, my blackberrying days re over, but there are some cumquat trees nearby planted as street trees, and I cannot let them all go to waste, can I?

Pearl said...

Happy birthday Meggie, I loved homemade jam too, we lived for quite a time out where there wasn't much water so didn't have a garden, but that didn't stop Mum from making jam, we used the native Quandong, & us kids would ride our bikes for miles going from tree to tree collecting the Quandongs when they where ripe.
my favourite now is also fig jam.

April said...

66 will be a wonderful year Happy Birthday.

Your new family member is a very handsome little man. :D

and how about sending some of that fig jam this way it sounds tasty ;D

Sheila said...

I love blackberries and as kids we would be sent on missions to find as many as we could. I best remember them in Apple and blackberry pies. The apples would be windfalls (those that fell from the tree to the ground) and made a delicious dessert. I love figs and fig jam too.
As for rhubarb, I don't have much luck growing it, but loved it as a kid. In fact loved it so much it was not unusual to have a small bag of sugar to dip rhubarb into, to be consumed while sitting on the back step..!
The little one is beautiful, he looks very bright. Happy Birthday for tomorow Meggie, and all the best for the coming year..

Lover of Life said...

I remember all the jam making with my grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-aunts all speaking German a mile a minute. Maybe we will get back to using all that bounty has to offer.

Happy birthday!

Q said...

Dear Meggie,
Happy Birthday. I think 66 would be a fantastic age! Enjoy your lunch out.
I love figs and fig jam is the best! My favorite of all the jams.
Fun post.
Thank you,

Julia said...

Happy Birthday Meggie...
66 is have caught up to me!
have a wonderful day full of lovely surprises..
Hugs Julia ♥

Stomper Girl said...

No Meggie, and nothing compared to the wild imaginings my brain was coming with. I think it's very sweet that you ate from the jar in hiding! My Cherub has a passion for the jam served at our favourite cafe and after he has eaten his toast he eats the remaining jam in the side dish with delicate dips of his finger.

Stomper Girl said...

PS Happy birthday for tomorrow xx

Anonymous said...

Oh Happy Birthday. Enjoy your lunch out.

I love figs too. Raspberries, figs and dates are my favourite fruits and I have a softspot for rhubarb and gooseberries too.

My MIL makes jam - it is rather good although you have to be a bit careful as she is not that scrupulous at removing the stones from damsons and the like.

I rather wish I could live in the olden days, you know, more in touch with the seasons and no freezers or TVs. It would have to be a slightly different olden days though - one where the internet had been invented.

ancient one said...

Happy Birthday... for a few months we will be the same age... then in Sept. I will move on to the next number...LOL

I love the baby!!

Ali Honey said...

Happy Birthday to you Dear Meggie!

May your day be filled with pleasure and good things.

I too am from a jam making background.We picked wild blackberries as kids and later when I had 2 small boys we had to go to the Wild Woods to get them !

Anonymous said...

I hope your day tomorrow is filled with figgy jam!

Team Tabby said...

Our 'mom' remembers her grandmother's preserves very well. They were always a treat and grammie gave them out as a specialty. the 'canned' peaches were mom's favorite.

Thanks for visiting us!

Mindy, Moe, Bono ....and mom

Warty Mammal said...

You've given me such a smile.

"Gift of the vines" - there's a lovely phrase!

Henri said...

Meggie , you asked me about the old preserving pan , No , alas we do not still have it -- It was aluminium and was so pitted and worn Mary finally got rid of it -- Not too sure eating all the aluminium from it over the years did us much good either Haha !- although the jams , preserves and jellies and so on were marvellous -- It was used for everything wasn't it ? I loved the plum jams with the stones still in ,also the wonderful nectarines, peaches, pears, feijoas and other preserves .The thought of that exquisite passionfruit syrup makes my mouth water yet !

Team Tabby said...

Happy Birthday to you Meggie! We hope you had a fabulous lunch to celebrate.

hugs and purrrs,

Mindy, Moe, Bono & mom Nina

Thimbleanna said...

By now it must be your birthday Meggie, so Happy Birthday! I hope you get another jar of figgy preserves!

Strider said...

My grandma and mom use to make great jams and jellies. I especially remember the apple butter, apple jelly, and appricot freezer jams....and yes...I grew up with both my grampa and dad farming apples! Thanks for the tasty memories.

Marja said...

Your posts always make me laugh
My aunt made lot of jam I stayed there a lot and we picked heaps of berries We have lots of boysenberries in our garden but Just eat them in our yoghurt
The photo's are lovely Meggie

Jeanette said...

A very happy birthday wishes Meggie.
Ohh I remember Going out blackberrying with Mum and the family to gather the berries and them comming home and Mum would bring out the preserving pan while we us kids would wash and and get the berries ready for Mum to make into Jam,, Then Mum would make fresh scones as a reward for picking the berries fresh scones and berry Jam so yummy..

Jeanette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Sagittarian said...

Happy Birthday Meggie, and may you be blessed with loads of Jam!

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Happy Birthday, Meggie! I love the visual of the apple jelly "suspension"! I'm not a big fan of blackberries and wonder why, as I love all other fruits and berries, even rhubarb! ;) The baby is positively adorable.

Pauline said...

may your birthday be filled with jars of fig jam

Veronica said...

Dear Meggie, I hope you have a wonderful birthday - enjoy your lunch and every little bit of your celebrations. I'll be thinking of you.

Great post too - I could see you sneaking teaspoons of that jam - isn't it great to know that we still have a long way to go before we are 'grown up' and boring. Over here, we are lucky to have lots of wild blackberries, or brambles, and pick them every autumn. Also sloes for yummy homemade sloe gin... hic...hic...
Love to you V xx

Isabelle said...

Happy Birthday from me too!

And what a gorgeous baby.

Coachdad said...

Happy Birthday! My grandmother used to make the best homemade jam. Miss it...

Christine Thresh said...

Rosey Cheeks is the cutest little one I've seen in a long, long time.

Christine Thresh said...

Oh, happy birthday, too.
We have figs and blackberries here but we've never done anything with the figs.

Mike said...

Happy Birthday Meggie....

My grandmother used to make rhubarb pie when I was a kid. I was told I used to love it although I can't imagine how I did.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday to someone special. I wish you the joyest of joy, wonderful wonders and the happiest of happies.

quiltmom said...

Hi Meggie,
Happy Happy birthday Meggie- I hope that you had the grandest of days. I also hope that you got something that was your heart's desire..

I loved your berry post- My mother and grandmother often made preserves ( my mother still does). I have tried it a couple of times but it really isn't worth my time as we don't eat much jam or jelly in my house. I had 12 jars of my gran jams after she was gone and it took us over 4 years to finish them off. They were delicious - we just don't have toast and jam very often. They would make raspberry, blueberry, cranberry and then apple butter . We grow rhubarb and often use it in pies and fruit crisp (fruit with a shortbread type topping) I really like rhubarb with other fruits - especially apple. It adds some nice tartness to the dessert. The other thing my mom does with rhubarb and crabapples is to turn into juice. She then freezes it to add to punch or as a lovely summer drink.

Figs are delicious- I especially like them in a cookie that my gran would buy for me called fig newtons. They are so yummy and I am filled with warm memories of my gran when I have them.

Happy day to you, my friend

Sarah said...

i cannot tell you how many "missions" my brothers and i went on all summer long to pick raspberries, strawberries, and rhubarb. my grandmother made jams----lots and lots and LOTS of jams! i miss them. ever since she passed away, when i think of fall, i think about uncapping a jar of homeade jam and sinking my index finger in for the first sweet burst. ....aww, nostalgia has bought a tear to my eye. :)

i enjoyed your blog today, as usual. take care!


Savvy Mom said...

Happy belated birthday, hope you had a great day, and i pray you have a wonderful year.

I find it so amazing that you can write about anything and everything!! I am new to blogging and i appreciate your efforts.

Loved the pic of the baby.