Jellies and jams, it appears, were the delight of country homestead kitchens a hundred years ago. After all, what brown bread, hot biscuit, or simple dessert isn't improved with a dollop of glittering fruit? But today, jellies, jams and fruit spreads are missing from cabinets in many households. Too much sugar, we say. Too expensive when the cost of groceries we have to buy is skyrocketing.
As I continue to stock up on extras of things family members and I (do or will) need, I've been encouraged to consider jelly again. As I pour over old homesteading books and turn-of-the-century cookbooks, I'm reminded: jelly and jam is important. It's variety in an otherwise boring diet of breads and grains. It's a great calorie source. It's turning foraged or carelessly cultivated finds into substance for a family. Really, the more I read, and the more I make, the more I'm convinced:
jelly is wonderful.
If you're one of the many who's contacted me for food storage tips, or if you're one of the many looking to preserve locally grown produce and get a handle on what's actually in your food, don't forget about jelly, jam, preserves, fruit spreads, and fruit butters. I echo the urging of farm wives and daughters from bygone eras.
Here are some resources I've found that, in my humble jam opinion, can't be beat. Want to learn to make your own jarred jewels? Start here. Looking for old favorites? They have you covered. Looking for something cool and exotic? Done. Whether you're stocking up, eating creatively, or looking to broaden your culinary horizon, I'd start here. (There are superb gift ideas here, too!) It's great to have paper copies of these on hand in case internet access becomes... troublesome, but you can certainly buy electronic copies or borrow them from folks or libraries, too:
There. I promise you won't be disappointed.
I'd like to share recipes and tips this summer as jelly and jam season gets underway, but I thought now may be a good time to start considering things and throwing some thoughts toward getting prepared.
Getting prepared. My new middle names. :) Happy jamming. -Brin