A friend I had not seen in almost four years recently visited me in Seattle. She helped me taste a lot of jam. It was our dessert after a lunch we shared. I braised lamb shanks in Apricot Chutney I canned last year and with them we ate copious amounts of cheese from the cheese shop down the street (the Calf and Kid) and greens from my garden. We still needed something sweet. I got out almost every spoon in my kitchen and we tasted and tasted. She was especially drawn to the Marmalades for their texture and bittersweet citrus tang, but she also ended up buying Blueberry Butter for her daughters and the Apricot with Espelette, Cardamom, and Star Anise for curiosity's sake. My friend's back home in Texas now, but she's been sending me videos of her daughters and their friends, like Lionel (the Lion), eating jam. They are adorable. Check it out: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=622389625193
I'm starting late, but today I fired up a batch of Rumtopf aka Officer's Jam aka Bachelor's Jam. It's not jam at all, but booze soaked fruit. It's made in a crock with gradual additions of fruit as its ready. With each layer of fruit one adds a certain amount of accompanying sweetener (honey in this case), which mulls with the fruit for about an hour before several cups of gin, vodka or brandy are added. I've only used vodka. By the holidays the jam will be ready. Today I'm starting with cherries and strawberries and half a handle of vodka.