I slept in this morning, which felt so good after my tired day at the very, very rainy Sunday farmers market yesterday.
While Amy dozed after finishing her first bus driving shift, I fired up coffee water and mixed up some crepes.
Today I wanted to put together the order I received from Beechers Cheese last week. They ordered Blackberry Prune Lemon Basil Jam and Pear Quince Orange Ginger Marmalade. I don't have an established label for the Pear Quince so I have to use my write-in labels, which means I write Pear Quince Orange Ginger Marmalade 48 times and I also write the ingredients: pears, blackberry honey, quince, oranges, lemon juice, candy ginger (honey, ginger, water) 48 times. I know, crazy. But for the 2014-15 preserving season there will be so much less of the write-in labels. I'm getting closer and closer to a finalized list of flavors to produce in the next year. (This means I can head to the printer.)
It's flavors like cherry that keep coming on and off the list. I can't decide whether to make a Cherry Jam. It's time intensive, expensive fruit to work with. It's low in pectin which means yields are lower and capturing cherry flavor is tricky and I probably shouldn't say this, but I don't think a cherry preserve will ever match a fresh cherry. But for some fruits that's not the point. Some fruits, and I think cherries count among them, evolve into having a second identity when cooked. Cherries are such an important fruit to this part of the country and a traditional preserve flavor I'd like to offer my customers in a honey preserves form. As of today, my Cherry Rosehip Hibiscus Jam is back on the list. I'm thinking a small run of the flavor...100/200 jars at most.
Last Tuesday I cleaned out my section of the cooler in the kitchen I rent for jam-making. I'm officially on hiatus from cooking for two months. I took home 6 quarts of jam, a couple pounds of lemons and 10 quince leftover from December. I kept thinking I'd try a savory jam with them, but on Thursday I broke down and accepted I am not making that jam right now. Instead, I peeled the quince, cut them in half and Amy put them in the dehydrator. I'll use them as an aromatic in braised dishes over the next couple months.
Speaking of acceptance, I'm putting my ambitions for a savory rhubarb jam on hiatus for now. I've cooked several batches and they haven't wow-ed me. By savory I mean the jam had star anise, birds eye chili, ginger, apple cider vinegar, and a tiny bit of shallot. With the second batch I skipped the shallot and vinegar and used lime zest and juice instead. I'm using it all as cooking jam. We made short ribs the other day. Today, it's pork belly.
That piece of belly will be a few shades darker, tender and sweet when I get home in a little bit. The pork is from Olsen Farms. They were having a crazy sale on beautiful slabs of pork belly at the Farmers Market. Getting ready and clearing out the freezer for spring slaughter, the stall lady said.
Earlier I mentioned Beechers Cheese and V Smiley Preserves. Yes! You will now be able to buy my jams at the Sea-Tac Airport shop and their flagship Pike Street Shop. I'm really excited about this. I just have to write 11 more labels!