Third-Quarter Gains?

Photo by Natalia Osiatynska, taken in daylight with a Leica X1.

Photo by Natalia Osiatynska, taken in daylight with a Leica X1.

This summer’s yield consists of eleven jars of strawberry preserves, ten jars of blackcurrant, and a dozen jars each of apricot and raspberry. (Both of the latter, however, were prepared in two separate batches, resulting in six jars each of decidedly better preserves—and twelve remaining jars, which are still bound to bring joy to the wintertime breakfast table.)

This really isn’t going to be a lengthy jam-making instructional, though I will mention a few things I’ve learned over the years. First, small jars (such as the 200 ml ones pictured here) make for fresher jam and maximize one’s opportunities for gifting. Second, soft-set or outright saucy is way better than gelled, particularly if, like us, you prefer your jam less sweet and consume most of it stirred into plain yogurt. Third, if you put boiling jam into just-boiled jars with a just-boiled ladle, leaving very little space near the top of the jar, and then you screw on a just-boiled lid and turn the jar over to cool—you’ve done all the sterilizing necessary to keep your preserves fresh and safe for the season ahead. Fourth, a wide-mouthed funnel is a wonderful thing, and of course it ought to be just-boiled too if you’re using it to do any canning. Fifth, what you see here might seem like a lot for a family of two, but it really isn’t. Not with the brunch guests and the Christmas lists and the fact that a three-year-old can really handle his jam.