I already have a name for my semi-imaginary jam company. It's called "Wildlife Preserves." I even print it on my little labels; it's sort of like vanity publishing, only with food. But wouldn't "Saints Preserve Us" be a choice name for some church's fund raising jam sale? I hereby donate it. Hey now, stop that. (I can hear you groaning.)
This is all in aid of announcing that Putting Up With It season is officially underway here at Toast. I began this weekend with a quadruple batch of my favorite of all the delicious preserves I learned to make in my recent class- a blueberry confit with sherry vinegar and red onions. I also made a normal sized batch of apple jelly, from the class recipe, which is easier than the one I had been using. Both look to be doing well.
I definitely advise against multiplying the recipes, especially if you haven't tried them before- and still need to find out if it's True Love. They are more than exponentially hard in a larger amount, and take forever, instead of just a little while. I knew what I was getting into, but wanted a bunch of extras for gifts. Still, you can always make the smaller batch twice, it will be more exactly measured and timed, and you won't get nearly as hot. So I'm giving you the blueberry recipe, more or less as it was given to me. This is a sweet sour confit, lovely with poultry, game, meats, and cheeses. It's blueberry season- so get going if you'd like to try it out.
My rationale for making so much at once (normally, I am a small batch girl) was that I had an email from Don and Becky, my CSA farmers, saying that flats of organic blueberries were available this week. I couldn't resist, and they are yummy. D and B were also kind enough to give me a box of windfall apples-green and pectin-rich, and perfect for apple jelly. I figure that jars of the blueberry will make some nice XMas presents. Those that I don't consume before December, that is.
Here is the method I used, just slightly adapted from the French Pastry School recipe, that will make 4 or 5 in the smaller, 4 oz jars. Measurements are in grams, by weight, and I haven't converted them to pounds and ounces (easy to do yourself, if your scale doesn't do metric) or volume- it really is better to use a scale, and a proper digital kitchen scale is relatively inexpensive and worthy. Also, they take up almost no space. End sales pitch.
300g peeled red onion
200g Jerez sherry vinegar
50g balsamic vinegar
200g pinot noir
300g blueberries (about 1 pint)
50g olive oil
50g good butter
Heat jars in a 225F oven to sterilize. Boil new lids and a canning funnel in water for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let them rest in the water.
Chop the onions finely. Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy pan, and add the onions, salt and pepper. As I used slightly salted local meadow butter, I didn't add more salt. Cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, until transparent. Add sugar and honey, and stir in well with a non metal utensil. Add the sherry vinegar, wine and blueberries, and cook on a low to medium heat for about 40 minutes, until it is nice and thick and sticky, stirring on and off, more on than off towards the end. Add the balsamic, bring back to a boil, and ladle into the prepared jars. Screw on the clean lids, and turn the jars upside down. Leave them overnight, and press on the top of the lids to check for a seal in the morning. Refrigerate and use the boingers first.
I think you are going to love this sweet and sour touch with all that is grilled and roasted.
Had some with fried chicken, and that was nice, too.