As much as I love to cook and craft (and eat refined white sugar), I had never made jam until last night. Actually, I still haven’t made jam, I don’t think. I’m a little fuzzy on the difference between jam, jelly, marmalade, preserves and conserva. But whatever I made with a small group of my fun crafting friends last night, it turned out tres delicious. And it didn’t involve wax or pectin—daunting ingredients from my memories of the ’70s that have long staved off such an operation in my household.
First, we made a blood-orange and meyer-lemon marmalade. My culinarily talented friend Tom says that a marmalade always involves citrus with the rind on. Luckily, I had a stash of citrus left over from the night before, when I used just the zest to make limoncello with some lady friends. Combined with blood oranges Tom got at the farmers market, we made a big stew of citrus and sugar.
Concurrently, we brewed up some kumquat conserva from a recipe in this month’s Sunset Magazine, my new favorite old-school magazine. This involved seeding and slicing kumquats, then bringing them to a simmer with sugar, water and the finicky seeds of a vanilla bean. (Recipe here.)
By the way, my favorite way to eat jam/jelly/marmalade/preserves/conserva? Mixed into some Greek yogurt. It’s basically a hippie version of Yoplait.