We’re smack in the middle of the berry season here in the Midwest, which means — at least in the Pastry household — the boiling water canner is being put through its annual paces. It’s the glory and the curse of a temperate, continental climate that its fruiting flora produce more delicious edibles than its combined population of fruit-loving fauna could ever eat — yet it isn’t made to last. It is thus the responsibility of those of us with the frontal lobes to do all we can to preserve it. And where berries are concerned, my favorite technique by far is jam.
When last we left off I was talking blueberries (and muffins). Given that they’re still around in many parts of the country, let’s start there. It’s my belief that a pinch of cinnamon, or even cloves, does wonders for a jar of blueberry jam. My favorite recipe for that comes from the cookbook Recipes from Home, a collection of recipes from a West Greenwich Village restaurant that the wife and I used to spend quite a bit of time in, back in the day. Since I have a policy of not putting up copyrighted recipes without permission, I won’t be putting it up, however there is a nearly identical one here. The main difference between the two is that the Home Restaurant version doesn’t used packaged pectin. I prefer it that way for reasons I’ll get into later. For now my suggestion is that you seriously contemplate the purchase of a speckled enamel canning pot. They’re worth their weight in gold.