Day 358: Toast and Jam

Biscuits+and+jam Day 358: Toast and Jam

Day 358! I may just have a heart attack.

I did CBC early this morning and was on traffic duty again on the Homestretch this afternoon, so leaving at 6 and stopping for one last gift en route, then getting stuck in hockey game traffic got me home at almost 7. I didn’t plan dinner (you’d think that after 357 days I’d learn something) but did pull a baggie of frozen chicken strips in buttermilk out of the freezer, and called to tell Mike to get sweet potato fries started. (Very unromantic of me, considering it’s our anniversary, but really we have the whole season to celebrate.) By the time I got home W had fallen asleep (he was up again at 8:30) and the chicken and fries were fairly cold and soggy… I nibbled on a few but was mostly interested in bread and jam while we made our last few batches of caramel corn with mixed nuts and fleur de sel caramels to give out tomorrow.

If I was really pressed to name my favourite food of all time, like if my life depended on choosing, I might say toast and jam. Dull, maybe. But I’d choose toast (or fresh, warm biscuits) with butter and jam over chips or chocolate anytime.

Dark, runny jams are my favourite; cherry, plum and black currant, although I go through semi-annual marmalade phases and would not turn down apricot or peach or a nice spiced apple jelly. I could happily go through life with an entire wardrobe of jams; a whole shelf dedicated to them. I do adore jam.

Years ago I made a couple of holiday-inspired jams that I decided to ressurect this year (considering my vow to not set foot in a mall for the few weeks before Christmas – I made and am still making a bunch of stuff, and I am a little bit hooked on etsy) and recently stumbled upon a new one. Besides the baking and caramels, I like having little pots and jars (I get old glass ones throughout the year at Value Village, church sales and the dollar store) filled with preserves to bring everywhere I go on the days leading up to Christmas.

This mandarin jam is my new favourite. It’s nothing like marmalade, as it contains no peel. It made perfect use out of the second half of a case of mandarin oranges we had lost interest in.

Mandarin+Jam Day 358: Toast and Jam

Mandarin Jam

adapted from The Travellers’ Lunchbox

2 lbs mandarin oranges mandarins, well-washed
2 1/2-3 cups sugar
juice of 2 lemons

Finely grate about a tablespoon of zest from your mandarins, then peel all of them, removing as much of the white pith as possible. Cut each mandarin in half around its middle and pick out any seeds. Place in the bowl of a food processor with the zest and remaining ingredients and pulse until well blended and fairly smooth.

Transfer to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 30 minutes, until it sets – keep a small saucer in the freezer to drop small spoonfuls onto – if you can run your finger through and it leaves a trail, it’s set.

Pour into hot, sterilized jars, seal and cool, or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.

Slow Cooker Apricot Jam

This is virtually effortless – the slow cooker does all the work! It’s perfect to make while you’re doing other things around the house.

1 lb. dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 cups water
a knob of fresh ginger, grated (about a tablespoon)
2 cinnamon sticks or a shake of ground cinnamon

Combine everything in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 2 – 3 hours, stirring a couple times if possible. Uncover and cook on high, stirring occasionally, for another 2 hours or until it’s thick and jam-like.

Ladle into clean, hot jars and seal according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 to 15 minutes or refrigerate up to a month.

Makes about 4 1/2 cups.

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December 23 2008 10:13 pm | preserves

9 Responses to “Day 358: Toast and Jam”

  1. Buddiegirl on 23 Dec 2008 at 10:58 pm #

    Toast and jam are such a great comfort food. The thought of warm, butter toast conjures up lots of memories. I remember when I was first pregnant with my daughter and had a hard time eating hot foods because the scent of some dishes may me queasy. Toast however was one thing that I could eat and eat and I did. One of my favourite jams at the time, was a high bush cranberry jam that I had bought at a craft sale. I also like cherry and plum and spiced peach or apricot. I think I ate too much strawberry jam as a kid because it is now my least favourite.

    Since we listen to CBC every day, we heard you twice today and my husband even commented on how busy you are. I hope that you will have a few days to put your feet up and relax this Christmas season. Take care.

    Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  2. Barb on 24 Dec 2008 at 6:52 am #

    The preserve recipes look great and another super idea. Happy anniversary! Buddiegirl is right….take some time for yourself one of these days. See you next year.

  3. Carol S-B on 24 Dec 2008 at 9:25 am #

    Julie, you have given us all the best present EVER, all year. I’ve enjoyed opening it every day.
    I hope you have a truly wonder-full Christmas. All the best from my family to yours.
    -CSB

  4. elektra on 24 Dec 2008 at 9:28 am #

    nothing wrong with jam.

    JAM–A positive multifunctiontional expression for wanting to be “all over” a person, place, or thing (urban dictionary).

    who knew there could be so many derivations of the word jam? there must be 200 different urban phrases that include jam and most of them are *ahem* questionable. i went with the rastafarian line that harkens back to Bob Marley and the Wailers.

    i have so much work to do today and i’m searching jam on the urban dictionary *sigh*

    merry christmas to a jammin’ chicka!

  5. Dana F on 24 Dec 2008 at 10:56 am #

    mmmm…that always reminds me of my Baba, fresh bread, butter and jam.

    I hope today runs smoothly for you and you, Mike and W have a happy and Blessed Christmas. No one is more deserving than you.

    xoxo
    d

  6. Kathy on 24 Dec 2008 at 12:36 pm #

    Nothing wrong with toast and jam! I’m going to try that crock pot apricot jam one of these days- yeah, no pectin!

    Happy Anniversary and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

  7. Fiona on 24 Dec 2008 at 1:52 pm #

    There is nothing wrong with toast and jam.

    Have a lovely Christmas, Julie! And happy anniversary!

  8. Christmas Stollen | dinner with Julie on 18 Dec 2009 at 11:21 pm #

    […] before Christmas I inevitably wind up with other stuff to do and settle for quicker things like mandarin jam and fleur de sel caramels, if […]

  9. Gail on 09 Feb 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    Christmas preserves!!! AMAZING. Made a wonderful gift for special people. Simple and it tastes like Christmas in a jar. I used the recipe printed in Swerve magainze in December 2010.

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