94 Days of Summer

jam

94 Days of Summer: Day One. I am a Syrup Rockstar

So! This is it. We have officially entered summer here in the Northern Hemisphere. Solstice marks 94 days of glorious summer—even if the weather remains uninformed until around day 32.

I have decided to mark my days this summer with a photo essay.  Some days it will be pictures with words, other days just a snapshot of part of my day. I’m hoping it will keep me focused and in the moment during my favorite time of the year. I’m also hoping you’ll come along for the journey. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to capture your own 94 days of summer?!

Day One: I am a Syrup Rockstar

I’ve always had a compulsion to list out my summer goals. It used to be a vaguely roughed-out list of things I wanted to do. But sometime during graduate school it became a life-line to my sanity. A list of things I could do when I was done with the constant juggling of school and work and a kid and a marriage. Summer represented a reprieve from academics, one less apple in the air, and of course I was hell-bent to relabel the school apple “Summer Projects.”

The list tends to change from year to year. But there are some perennial favorites. Jam making being one of them. In May I start saying to myself, “This summer I will make jam.” And of course, every summer I don’t. It’s been 12 years since I last made anything other than freezer jam (and while freezer jam is absolutely yummy, it does not count!) despite the fact that making jam is always in the first draft of my summer list.

Apparently, “making jam” ranks right up there with “losing weight”. It’s about as likely to happen as my miraculously becoming a physics giant and splitting an atom. It could happen. But I wouldn’t put my money on cold fusion.

You like how I did that… dropped in a sciency term to make my point? Yeah, hanging out with Boy Wonder has its perks.

As you can imagine, I’m not fond of being undone, out done, or over done. I’m a half-baked kind of girl; clearly I needed more than a list, I needed a plan. And so, this summer, I am a girl with a plan.

A plan to make jam. Specifically, White Nectarine and Raspberry jam. A plan that does not include buying premade jam and repackaging it. (that’s plan B, shh don’t tell!) A plan that will make me a Jam making Rockstar. Domesticate this!

Um. So, here’s the thing.  I hauled out my jam making equipment, made more trips to too many stores to gather supplies, and launched into my super amazing rockstar recipe on Saturday.  I was prepared, I had plan, I executed said plan with panache and artistry.

And the jam didn’t set. It tastes amazing! The nectarine brings out a softer side of the raspberry, and my hunch to include a real vanilla pod was inspired! But, unfortunately, something went very, very wrong. And my jam is more like soft-set freezer jam in the consistency department.

So, while I’d like to scratch off “making jam” from my list and tell you I have already accomplished something this summer, I don’t think I can. Instead, I think I’ll add “make White  Nectarine and Raspberry Syrup” to my list and refocus my jam making energy on blackberry season.

It’s only Day One, after all. Too early to resort to plan B. I still have faith that I’ll make jam this summer. It could happen. Right?

11 Responses to “94 Days of Summer”

  • That would taste awesome on pancakes or waffles. (bright side) I did clean out our closet a little–but I have SO MUCH more to do. I wish I could use my eye as an excuse to just sit around.

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    Oh, CLOSETS! Those always make the summer list too. Weirdly, every year I actually do clean them… and yet, they need to be done again the next year. Messy Wende. ~W

  • HG:

    It LOOKS divine! 🙂

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    Very pretty if runny. Just not firm enough to be given as a gift. Which is what I had intended to do. ~W

  • soft jam is still jam.
    give it a week.
    smear it thickly onto absorbent toast.
    it’s a dual use sweet fruit preserve.

    you rule.

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    Thank you!! It’s not setting up but it’s also not going to waste. We’re finding all kinds of uses. 😀 ~W

  • But you totally made jamsyrup! That is what I called my very loosely set peach-lavender jam I made last year. It is fabulous on french toast, pancakes and waffles. It is also great stirred into plain yogurt (ideally that has been strained overnight first, or just spring for plain greek yogurt). A fresh biscuit won’t refuse jamsyrup either. Raspberry-White Nectarine jamsyrup sounds delicious.

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    I love that : Jamsyrup. It’s totally caught on at my house. We’re all now calling my failure “jamsyrup!” 😀 ~W

  • IZ:

    Day 1 = fantastic outcome! Your jamsyrup is really tasty… and I have an ice cream recipe that would do VERY WELL to have some of your Raspberry-White Nectarine concoction at the core. YUM. Home made ice cream may be on MY list… 😀 Meanwhile, FANTASTIC post. Can’t wait to keep reading more.

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    At least it tastes great, eh? ~W

  • Hey that’s further than I have ever gotten! (Ok, I have to admit I’ve never even tried to make jam! )
    But I love the idea of doing it.

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    The last time I made it (12 years ago!) it was a piece of cake and turned out perfectly. I was lulled into thinking it was a no-brainer. Um. ~W

  • Reason nine hundred eighty-two that I am dismayed that we do not live closer together – homemade nectarine jamsyrup.

    PS. Your anniversary photos are adorable! (and not at all, “precious” in that “uuugggh, who ARE those people?” way) 🙂

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    Oh, awesome… because I wouldn’t want to be *that* couple. And it’s so sad, because I live so far away from all my favorite people. ~W

  • Sloppy jam is great, I have some here too. You can just cook it up again for a while and it will set. Oldstyle jam cooking. I was inspired to join you on your 94 (well 92 now) days of summer. Looking forward to it!

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    I’ve read that you can recook it. I might just give that a try. 😀 And Yay for doing your own photo essay. I’ll be sure to check it out! ~Wen

  • YveeB'smum:

    When I started to read your blog on jam making I knew what the outcome would be!!
    If you like very runny jam thats fine. However if you want to get it to set you need an agent of some sort. Natural or artificial pectin. Natural pectin occurs in large quantities in plums and apples so adding some apple or plum juice will help jam to set. Even adding a few plums will be disguised in the end. I often use lemon juice but have had almost no success using commercial pectin.
    Raspberry, strawberry, peach and apricot jams are the most difficult to get to set. I was once told by a commercial grower of strawberries the best way to get the jam to set is to use equal quantities of fruit and sugar ( NO water added) and boil quickly till setting point.
    If you are going to make blackberry jam add some apple it will give it a bit of body and help it to set. They are also in season together.
    All the best in your efforts.

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    Thanks so much for the tips! I did use commercial grade pectin, lemon juice, and no water. Go figure, eh? 😀 ~W

  • YveeB'smum:

    Well better luck next time.
    if the jam stays runny you can always pour it over ice cream or natural yogurt. Its never wasted even if you are frustrated.

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    Thanks! My husband is threatening to make ice cream with it. Hee!! ~W

  • […] still posting photos from my 94 Days of Summer project and I’d love it if you weree vociferous in the comment […]

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