Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day Jam--Fabulous Failure or Creative Culinary Save--with Taste Test Update by C.H. Admirand

Did you ever have one of those moments where you decided to improve on one of your recipes? Well, that's what prompted me to share my fabulous failure...well maybe not quite a failure...but definitely not what I intended. LOL!

I totally love the Ball Jar heritage collection, so when I saw their latest squat, square jam jars a few months ago, I thought, I'm definitely picking some up. But the budget ebbs and flows, and I hadn't had the extra to splurge just because I liked them...and then a few days ago, our darling oldest son surprises me with them. Aren't they gorgeous?

I picked, cooked and froze Rhubarb from our garden last month and was itching to get at it today, since we had the family cookout yesterday. While the canner is heating up...because yep, these jars are NOT freezer safe--although cute as can be *sigh*...I've got the Rhubarb defrosting and heating up. Then my evil-side nudges the let's-keep-it-safe-and-try-to-follow-the-recipe-this-time-side, and I'm searching through the spice jars for the Lemon Peel and Orange Peel. I added in 2 tsps. of each and taste it, thinking oh this is good, but it needs something. And I reach for the ground cloves...which could have been perfect if I'd only added a 1/2 tsp. instead of a whole one. *sigh*

So now I'm thinking, OK, do I toss the whole pot, or do I try to keep adjusting and fixing it. Evil side says go for it, you've already ditched your recipe. LOL! Yeah...welcome to my world. Soooo I'm thinking not Jam...but Conserve! Cool, just add in dried cranberries and chopped walnuts. And I'm finally happy with it. So, nose to the grindstone time, boiling those jars--which don' really fit well inside the jar holder inside the canner--think cute square bottoms in the round hole jar holder...yeah. BUT I figure out how to tilt, lift, etc. to get them in there and sterilized while the conserve is cooking.

It was quite a bit trickier to get the filled jars back into the jar holder inside the canner...but again, where there is a will, there is always a  way. As I'm putting on the canner lid,  I'm asking for help from above: Mom, am I doing this right? All those years spent canning with my Mom, and I still think of her every time I get out the makings for jam or jelly. Lord, I miss you, Mom. 

Finally the conserve is processing in the water-bath and my darling hubby comes back inside after being my hero adding the trim to the refinished back door (which is gorgeous and no longer painted red, btw) and when I briefly give him the run-down, he makes the appropriate hmms and ahhs so that I'm pretty sure he's listening. Then he asks the question that stumps me: What do you do with conserve?

YIKES! All I could think of to say was well, you can serve it when your turkey or ham is too dry. Yes, my brain has ceased to function as my creativity has gone into my culinary creation and decided that's it for today. 

Then darling daughter answers my text and saves the day, after I explained what happened: She suggests serving the conserve with crackers and Brie!! Genius! I think we need to add a glass of wine to that and we'll be good to go.

The best news so far is that as soon as I've removed the processed jars, so they can cool on the counter, I hear that first *ping* of a lid sealing. Then another one, and then the last two and I know that Mom heard my prayer and helped the jars seal because I am suddenly reminded of countless nights with our family around the dinner table cheering as each jar of jelly (or tomatoes, peaches, chili sauce, etc.) cheerfully *pinged* as it sealed. Thanks Mom, I love you!

Soooo, I think I'm done in the test kitchen for today, and thinking leftovers sound like a plan for the rest of the day!

Happy Labor Day!

  OMGoodness Taste-Test Update!!!

Because I didn't overly-fill the jam with cranberries and chopped walnuts for this first try at a recipe, the pic looks a little odd. Ignore that. LOL!

Test-tasted and approved by my darling hubby :) We were fresh out of Brie cheese, but had Vermont Sharp White he tasted his on a Ritz. 

BUT, then I remembered we had cream cheese, so I had mine on Italian Herb flatbread crackers with a small glass of red wine. Totally yummy!


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