Jar collecting

Before we moved to France I used to keep jars in the anticipation I would find time/supplies to make delicious jam to share with my friends and neighbours.  The usual scenario was:

  1. Make one batch of something each year
  2. Get really motivated and excited and collect jars until they were spilling all over the floor of my small galley kitchen in North London
  3. Realise I wasn’t going to make anything very soon and recycle said jars
  4. Suddenly get a crate of apples or blackberries…then scramble around try to find jars!

Now, I do have a big stock of jars, spilling all over the floor…but the difference is I actually use them on a regular basis (that said, I probably have a few too many and should probably do a sort/recycling run).  Total mea culpa….I am still learning.  While I can say most of my jams taste fine, I clearly need to learn patience as a few of them aren’t as set as they should be, so a bit more compote-y than jam-y.  Like I said, I am learning. 

My latest ‘thing’ is moving in to cordials and shrubs (and my tried and true goats milk caramel – Cajeta!).  With summer imminent it is time to stock up for sipping chilled drinks on the terrace….and you can only drink so much rose. 😉

My latest effort is a celebration of Rhubarb, with a rhubarb ginger cordial and rhubarb -strawberry compote which is great on yoghurt! (recipe from the fabulous David Lebovitz, replacing the Kirsch with the local aperitif – Quercy des Iles).  Only mistake/new find was grabbing the jar of chestnut honey instead of the acacia for the cordial….I realised once it was all bubbling away (chestnut honey has a strong distinct perfume), but it turns out it works well with the ginger and rhubarb and makes for a pleasantly perfume-y coridal.  Phew.

I have a range of different types of basil, some lemongrass and physalis sprouting on my terrace…so I see some interesting combos coming out later in the summer.  Oh yes, and some blackberries from last year in the freezer I need to use up—hmmm, a blackberry and bay shrub maybe?

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