Jam is a good way to use ripe, healthy produce of the season. You can prepare it with fruits or vegetables, whole, cut up or puree’d and cooked in a sugared syrup. So you can continue to savour the taste when the season is gone, select from mixed strange and tasted flavour especially if you use different spices in your jams.. Don’t be afraid to select your mix of fruits and vegetables according to the season and your tastes, and add the spices you like best.
Many fruits and many vegetables are good for jams. One fruit alone, differents fruits together, one vegetable, differentx vegetables together, fruits and vegetables together.
Try pumpkin with onions, and enjoy their color. Try apples with zucchini, try eggplant, try the delicious red fruits of the wild rose plant, don’t forget savoury raspberry jam, the unctuousness of peach jam, the acidity from this one, the sugar of the other one.
Marmelade was invented in Scotland in 1791. It’s prepared like jam, but since 1981 in French, this name is only available for agrums preparation: lemon, orange and grapefruit.
Jelly, more translucent, is prepared with the boiled syrup of the fruits and sugar mixed together.
Breakfast This morning for your breakfast, perhaps you ate a slice of bread with organic salted butter. On this you have put a lot of your favorite jam. It was unctous, tasty, so good.
Saint Thomas had something to do with that. It’s because he said it’s permitted to have something to drink after the fast. The word «breakfast» means: to break one’s fast in both French: déjeuner and in English. The meaning became to drink something in the morning. It was originally wine, then coffee and later chocolate, depending the fashion.
Saint Thomas didn’t think that jam broke one’s fast. At the time, people used to eat jam late in the evening, after the meal, because they thought it was good for the digestion. So people began to eat jam in the morning. Since 1843, the Catholic Church permitted bread to be eaten with jam and the morning drink.
So many things can be hidden in a slice of bread!
Electuaria / electuaire A nice name for jam, which originated when we began to write about it in the European cooking books in the XVth century or in «Secret’s Miscellany» which Nostradamus wrote in 1555 ; we know Nostradamus for his prophesies.
Those books were for young ladies from high society. Jam recipes were coupled with cosmetic recipes because people thought jam was remedial, and to prepare jam was considered a worthy occupation.
From the XVth century until today, there are so many things to explain about jam, that I have to write an entire guide about this subject.
Extract 1 Cligès, Arthurian Romances « Fenice is very ill. Thessala has to come with ointments and electuaries. If she is only a little late, Fenice will die. Thessala runs to her and takes her home-made ointments, her plasters, and her electuaries. She rejoins Jean. They leave the town, in secret, and straight away, they go to the tower. When Fenice sees her nurse, she thinks she is already cured because she loves and trusts her. » Chrétien de Troyes, about 1135 – about 1183
Recipe 1 Carrot jam Peel the carrots, let them cook in water until almost soft. They can finish cooking in the Norwegian pot. Drain and purée the cooked carrots. Add one part sugar for two parts carrots. Put all together in a big pot and let cook until the sugar dissolves. A short time before the cooking is finished, add a spice which pleases your nose and taste: ginger, cumin, vanilla, cinnamon, … Mix, let cook a few minutes more until the consistency seems to be good and then put in clean glass jars. Before you wash the pot, savour what remains in it from the cooking, lick the spoon and your fingers and wait, with patience, some weeks, some months, to relive this moment full of wonderful smells. The orange color of the jam will be very pretty with the green color of pureéd peas and rice, (brown or white) with bulghur and broccoli, or mix the jam in home-made stuffing: cereal, small onions, and spices wrapped in a big cabbage leaf.