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Jams and Jellies

Homemade Jams
             Randal Allred
             Astrid Bear
             Stop Brussels and save our home-made jam - Boris Johnson (Wikipedia)
Port Wine Jelly - Robin Welch
Quince Preserves

Homemade Jams
Randal Allred
Our apricot tree was extraordinarily fecund, and in spite of the efforts of my freeloading friends and the birds, the harvest was huge. The kitchen would be filled with moist and steamy heat, as the pressure cooker and jar sterilizer steamed away, the counters crowded with pectin, jars, lids, bags of sugar, pots, and utensils. The house was heavy with the perfume of cooking apricots, plums, and peaches. She jarred a lot of the apricots as fruit halves, but much of it went into apricot jam. I shall never again taste an apricot jam as fragrant and full in flavor as hers. It was best spread on buttered toast-- 50% whole wheat homemade bread, of course. (We had her enter her bread in the L.A. County Fair, once, and it won a blue ribbon, to her astonishment. We just nodded sagely.) The peaches were canned, and a little made into jam. But she made two kinds of strawberry jam--a conventional kind, sealed in a Mason jar like the rest of her jams--and a freezer jam, as she called it, that she would put in old sour cream tubs and freeze. That jam was beyond description, and I can taste it in memory, but look in vain for anything approaching it elsewhere. Again--best on the toast, but very good on ice cream, too.
In grape season, by brothers and I picked grapes and "stemmed" them for a week until our fingers were permanently stained brown, it seemed. She made quarts and quarts of unstrained grape juice (in a kitchen filled with grapey steam), which she would have us drink when we were sick with stomach troubles. But the coup-de-grace was her grape jelly. I have never been able to eat commercial grape jelly because of having tasted hers. Some years after she had passed away, we were visiting my father at the old house and I went out to the garage, where we kept the food storage shelves filled. Not so filled by then--but there several jars of her jam, and I greedily confiscated them (with Dad's consent), and took them home to spread on my toast for months afterwards.

Astrid Bear
The reason freezer jam is so good is that it not cooked, so the true fresh taste of the berries comes through. Here's a good looking recipe: The Spruce Eats: Strawberry Freezer Jam

Port Wine Jelly - Robin Welch
1 1/4 C Cranberry Juice Cocktail (and ONLY Cranberry Juice Cocktail)
3 C sugar
1 packet CERTO liquid fruit pectin
3/4 C port wine (cheap stuff A-OK, ruby, not tawny)
In a deep saucepan, combine cranberry juice cocktail and sugar.
Heat, stirring to melt sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil on medium heat, reduce to low and boil one minute.
Stir in liquid pectin and boil 1 minute.
Add port and bring just to boiling. Remove from heat. Let sit a few minutes. A foamy scum forms at the surface. Skim.
Ladle into sterilized jelly jars.

Quince Preserves
Makes about 7 cups.
4 quinces (about 2 pounds total), trimmed
5 1/2 cups sugar
5 cups water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. Bring quinces, 1/2 cup sugar, and the water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer gently until quinces are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer quinces to a plate to cool. Reserve cooking liquid.
2. Coarsely chop quinces, and return to pot (including seeds, cores, skins). Bring to a boil. Slowly stir in remaining 5 cups sugar and the lemon juice. Cook, stirring, until preserves are thick, orange, and register 220 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 25 minutes. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve; discard solids. Let cool.
3. Transfer to airtight containers, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.