I very often get asked the question "what made you start jamming?"
It's an outdated art, unfortunately, but I always enjoy the conversation.
Yes, your grandma may make the best grape jelly you've ever had, and I believe you!!
I, on the other hand am stepping away from traditional flavors you can get at the big grocery stores. But one flavor that seems to appeal to every generation, and a bite that'll really get you going, is the one that, yeah, really got me going!!
(pictured above: Hot Pepper Jam on toast. Photographed by Kyle Kresge)
This is the one that started it all, everyone.
In 2011, I was living in Little Italy, Cleveland.
It was a quaint, cozy home, owned by the sweetest lady named Linda.
She had grown up this house, which was built in 1901 and always owned by the same family.
She was very much the stereotypical sweet Italian mama, always on her feet and could talk for hours.
Anyways, I was working at Presti's Bakery just down the road and fresh out of a culinary program.
Being my first place out of school, and a whole kitchen just to myself, I did A LOT of experimenting. A lot, a lot.
There was a nice little garden spot, tilled up along the driveway that was calling my name.
Filled with rocks, glass and covered with weeds, I got working.
From tomatoes, to broccoli, so many peppers and herbs, I had an abundance for just myself.
My neighbors were stocked up, I had made jars of hot sauces and marinara's, salsas.
Still a huge pile of hot peppers sat on my kitchen table.
I came across a simple but very appealing recipe for a pepper jam.
I decided to used the blend I had used for the best jar of salsa I made a couple days prior, and WOW.
(pictured above: hot sauces, garden pickings, kitchen on Coltman.)
Honestly, I never changed the recipe.
I still, almost 7 years later, use the same proportions I did for that very first batch.
These days the batches are a bit larger, but that was it! That Hot Pepper Jam got me going.
I couldn't wait until the massive fig tree began to fruit. YES, FOR REAL. IT WAS HUGE.
The seasons from then on became so anticipated and busy.
Berries in the spring and summer, apple butters and preserves in the fall.
Once that first winter came after I found my love for jamming, I became antsy.
What else can I make into jelly when the sweet, sought out after fresh produce isn't in season?
Teas. Lavenders. Marmalade. BACON. I tried everything.
Some stuck, and some definitely did not.....
Aside from jamming, I really just love the art of preserving.
I am a HUGE fan of my dehydrator.
Pickling, making fresh pastas and condiments.
Did I mention I collect jars? Like, a lot of jars. (shout out to my partner Tom for bearing with me)
Food is so much more to me then just what we eat when we are hungry.
It is beyond survival. It is an art, and it is very complex.
How we connect with other human beings over a meal.
An initial reaction when in need of comfort, is food.
Each ingredient is unique and offers so much personality to a dish.
Every color, the texture and combinations of something we put together
is a a reflection of our mood, what we are craving that time. Or the occasion.
What we eat and even what we do NOT like to eat is a reflection of our individual personalities.
How we could feel about an industry, or a humanitarian situation, could decipher your daily routines, the people you eat with, and even where you work.
-FOOD IS EVERYTHING-
well for me anyways ;)
I hope you stick along with future posts, lots of recipes, twists on every-day meals,
and learn stuff along the read!