Upon having discovered Mes Confitures

June 7, 2010

Well, it’s been awhile. Since last I updated, I had a baby. Hence the reduced blogging. My urge to make preserves seems only to have strengthened, though, and now that summer’s here in its full glory, I’m at it again. 

For Christmas I was given a copy of Christine Ferber’s Mes Confitures, which I had heard many good things about over on the Harvest Forum.  Recently someone on there asked whether the book has changed anyone’s life. Upon relfection, I’d have to say yes. It has really solidified my transition to no-pectin-added, traditional jammaking, and made me aware of how to layer flavors to get something truly amazing.  So far, I’ve made her rhubard with honey and rosemary preserves and her two kinds of apricots with vanilla and gewurtztraminer. That last one blew my mind, it was so good. The book has inspired me to make two creations of my own using her technique (I know it’s not really her technique, it’s been used for a long time, but she’s where I learned it, so I’m giving her credit anyway) of long maceration, straining, boiling the juice to gel point, then ading solids.  The first was strawberries with Earl Grey. The set was a bit loose and the Earl Grey doesn’t really jump out at you like I sort of hoped it would, but they’re tasty!

And yesterday, I whipped up my own concoction of sour cherries with slivered candied ginger, vanilla, and mead. Cherries are low pectin, too– Ferber uses green apple jelly to provide the pectin in her cherry recipes, but the green apples aren’t in here yet,  so instead I added the finely grated zest of one orange and one lemon, and let the lemon seeds macerate with the fruit overnight to extract all their pectin– I’m delighted to report that it worked and the jam achieved a good set. The flavor of the mead doesn’t jump out at you, either, which is ok by me– I was going for layers of flavor, and I’d say that’s what I got.  The jam is such a lovely, dark red.  I don’t know what Christine Ferber would think of the results, but I’m happy with it.  Now I have one jar of the apricot and one of the cherry open in my fridge, and it’s going to be tough decision-making every day as regards to which goes on my morning toast!

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