Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Plum Ginger Jam

I have a confession to make. I have been a horrible student so I've been having a terrible time with graduate school. I'm not dumb. It's not that I don't understand the subject matter. It's just that for the first time since 5th grade I'm actually doing homework. You hear that mom? I'm doing my homework. Actually my mom knows I'm doing my homework because I keep calling her up because I don't really have too good of a memory of what happened when I was in school. I probably would remember better if I participated in class, went to class, or did the homework.

But what can I say? I was bored. I found the majority of subjects uninteresting, or only interesting enough to hold my attention for the 45 minute class period. In searching for my SAT scores this week (yeah I have NO idea where we put those 20 years ago), I came across a giant stack of progress reports. They all said the same thing. I'm a gem. I'm really good at class discussions. I really need to remember to bring my books to class and get there on time. Oh and it would be great if I wasn't so sloppy and unorganized. And by the way, effort has disappeared and if I don't turn in the 17 missing assignments I'm going to fail the class.


You would think I would learn to do homework in college when I got to study subjects that were more interesting. Well, I would think that to. But nope. See in college although the material got more interesting, life outside school got way more interesting too. So yeah, I didn't really get any better at doing my homework. I think the statistics professors figured it was a statistical improbability that I could pass the class without doing the homework (we didn't have to turn it in). But I had this great friend Robin, and right before every exam I'd spend the night at her house drinking beer and eating pizza and she would help me learn the important stuff and we'd study together. So yeah, I graduated with my statistics degree after a lot of beer and pizza. And very little actual homework.

Finally, at the tender young age of 36, I'm doing homework. I'm not very good at it. And I agonize over every paper. Agonize. Seriously. But I'm doing that homework. My classes are really interesting and I'm learning a ton, but this homework thing is brutal.

So what does this have to do with food blogging? Well, I am going to be letting Legume Wednesdays slide a little bit. I do still cook with a lot of legumes and you will see many recipes here still that include beans. But lately I've been using the crock pot a lot and although it provides tasty food that's ready for the Brain when he comes home from work and still warm when I get home, the legume recipes for the slow cooker don't look that appetizing and frankly when I get home at 10:00pm, I'm too tired to remember to photograph dinner before eating it and I don't have any good light to work with either.

Molly at Batter Splattered is hosting the Jammin' Jelly Exchange, and in the spirit of going back to school and the delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich that used to be a school lunchroom staple (although now because of the increase in peanut allergies it is frequently banned from schools), I have made jam. Yummy Plum Ginger Jam. My mom used to make batches upon batches of jams when I was a kid. our fruit cellar was lined with jars of jam. And we'd eat them all up. 6 kids eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches kills a jar of jam pretty quick. In fact I'd never had store bought jam before moving away to college. Store bought isn't the same. And homemade is so easy. And fairly cheap too!

So there's no recipe. Buy a box of Sure-Jell and tear it open in the store. Don't worry, everyone does it. There's a piece of paper inside that will tell you exactly how much fruit and how much sugar you need to use. I believe this jam called for 4 pounds of plums (bought on sale for $0.88 a pound) and 8 cups of sugar. The cool thing I did, is once I followed the regular recipe for jam on the piece of paper inside the box of Sure-Jell, I stirred in 1 cup of chopped up crystallized ginger. Then into the sterilized jars and processed for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. I got 10 jars and a bowl left over. There is nothing as delicious as freshly made jam. On good bread. Unless it's that peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I'll be munching on tomorrow while I'm working on my homework. It's like being in 5th grade all over again.


Sara said...

I'll write a paper for you if you send me one of those jars of jam!!

Or you could come up here and help me make some myself and I'll help you write a paper... I suppose that's a bit more ethical... :)

Gretel said...

I'd like to get in on the papers/jam exchange. I could totally do that. I'm too chicken to make it myself.

Miss. Von Schtoop said...

Nice! That looks delicious. If you send me a jar, I'll send you some Fluff.

Not entirely a fair trade, but er, just dooooit.


Amanda said...

Mmm, jam.

I'm afraid of making jam. I'll admit it. My reasons are:

(a) I have to live sugar-free, and though I can do most things with sugar sub, I don't know if it would work with storing jam.

(b) I've never canned. I'm afraid of giving myself botulism poisoning.

I'd also like to say that I think it's amazing that you're going back to school and doing what you need to do--we'll be here whenever you post a recipe that works into your schedule. No worries!

April said...

I would have never thought to add the ginger! Love it!! Whoever you are sending to will be very lucky!!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Good luck on the homework situation--I don't think I could ever do it again. I love the jam though--that sounds like a delicious flavor and it has a great color

Deborah said...

I was always bored in school as well. But I graduated, and that's all that matters, right??

The jam looks wonderful. I've been wanting to do some more jam this year, and this sounds like a winner!

Cynthia said...

Homework is such a pain :)

susan said...

your jars are so cute! and the jam look delicious :)

Bellini Valli said...

Making jam gets your creative juices flowing...who needs homework...unless we want to pass that is:D

Cakelaw said...

Good luck with the study and good on you Mary - I am the same vintage as you, and the thought of going back to study gives me cold chills down my spine. Love, love, love the jam - plum jam is one of my favourites, and mixed with one of my favourtie falvaours, ginger, you can't lose.

I have passed on the Magic Lamp of Luck to you:

Fran Z said...

I have never ventured into that area! Always looks so lovely, but the "sterilization" process freaks the bejesus out of me.
Kudos for going back to school. It's never too late!

Melissa said...

Hi Mary, Just wanted to say I really enjoy and admire your blog. This is Melissa from the SC contingent of the family. I'm kind of going back to school too, so I can relate there. However, my cooking ability is very slim (although my interest is growing, to my husband's great relief). Hope all is well with you and the Ohio folks. I look forward to reading more of your recipes and musings!

Johanna said...

you must be doing the right course if you are enjoying it enough to do your homework.

I have enjoyed your legume wednesdays but have a few of the ideas bookmarked so will just have to work on getting some on these made rather than pining for more :-)

And I was interested that you call it jam when so many americans call it jelly - is that the difference between home made and bought stuff? Anyway it looks delicious

Mary said...

sara- I could come up and help you make some, but I'm not sure what fruit would be ripe by then. I'll save you a jar.

gretel- you are a big chicken. Saving you a jar too.

miss von schtoop- fluff for jam is very very tempting. I love fluff.

amanda- a)they make sure-jell for sugar free jam. I've seen it at wallmart. b)I think botulism only happens with tomatoes and that. I don't think you can get it from jam.

april- the ginger adds a terrific zing to it. I'm not sure where the idea came from though.

mike- thanks! The color is definitely pretty!

deborah- graduating is definitely the point! (except the older I get the more guilty I feel for low grades. I think it has something to do with the student loans.)

cynthia- indeed!

susan- thanks! it's really good!

val-yeah that whole passing thing...

cake- thanks for the lamp! I'll go check it out!

fran- the whole sterilization thing doesn't freak me out so much with jam. I figure the boiling hot jam will kill anything I missed in sterilizing! :)

melissa- shout out to the SC branch of the family! I had so much fun meeting you all!

johanna- don't worry, i'll still make loads of legumes and probably still post on wednesdays. it just might not be every wednesday. And jam has chunks of fruit in it so it has some texture, while jelly is made from the juice so it's very very smooth..

Amanda said...

What? Sugar-free? Ooooooh, this just might get me into some trouble... I have GOT to learn how to can!

Tartelette said...

In kindergarten, the teachers asked my mom to keep me home during nap time because I was always telling stories. All my reports card in elementary school read that I talked too much....So I got really quiet...yeah right :), well at least now it is through a computer screen!
The jam sounds wonderful!

Rebecca said...

A fellow jam maker! So far, in the last few weeks, I've made cherry-lime preserves, huckleberry jam, and peach-lemon jam. I'm hoping to do fig jam and kumquat marmalade by Christmas.

Yours looks great!