- Date: Saturday, August 14, 2010 -- 3pm
- Location: East Lansing, MI
- Kitchen: Our House
- Fellow Chef: Matty
- Dining Companions: Teri and Spencer
- Recipe Rating: A-
I have been watching for Concord grapes, as they are one of the few seasonal ingredients I still needed for my project. So when I saw them at the grocery store a couple weeks ago I immediately jumped at the opportunity to make this recipe. I started by sterilizing a bunch of jars in a boiling water canner. The next instruction was to peel 5 pounds of Concord grapes. When I read that I was scared. Concord grapes are pretty small, so 5 pounds of them was a lot of grapes! I peeled a couple pounds, then recruited my special gentleman to help me peel the rest. It was easy to squish the grapes out of their skins, but the sheer number of grapes made it pretty time-consuming. By the time we finished peeling I think we were both a little angry at the recipe. I pureed the grape skins with some sugar, and put the mixture in a pot along with lemon juice, the grapes, and more sugar. I boiled the mixture for a bit, then forced it through a food mill. I brought it back to a boil and cooked, stirring, until the jam was done. I ladled it into jars, then sealed them and processed them in the boiling water canner. I let the jam sit for a day to develop the flavor. I had a pretty bad attitude about this jam after making it, but that quickly melted away at the first bite. In a word: Yum! I have made jam plenty of times before, but this was my first time making grape jam and it was pretty awesome. It had a fantastic grape flavor and a wonderful jam texture. With store-bought grape jelly (which I also love!) it is always difficult to imagine it coming from actual fruit -- it seems more like gelatin with fake grape flavor added. And perhaps it is. This recipe produced a real fruit jam. Not only was the flavor genuine, but the texture also conveyed that real fruit went into it. I was impressed. We gave a couple jars away and now are carefully rationing the rest!
The recipe is here.
I have been thinking lately about how friendships start. I'm not thinking so much about casual friends, but rather about serious friendships -- the kind of friends you lean on heavily when things are bad and call first when there is good news. I have great friends. Unfortunately, though, none of my close friends live in East Lansing (except, of course, my special gentleman!). I just moved here, and these things take time, but it's still on my mind.
Consciously pursuing a friendship with someone feels a bit like trying to date them. You want to be enthusiastic without being overbearing, show interest without scaring them off. I never liked that part of dating. Earlier in life I think it was easier to find friendships without pursuing them. Back in college or graduate school when almost everyone was single and spending tons of time together, deep friendships came along naturally. And maybe that will be true in married adult life too. It's just less clear to me how that happens. Someone told me recently that as an adult you become friends with the parents of your kids' friends. I didn't find that too reassuring, seeing as how we don't have kids.
I'm sure I will figure it out, and soon we will have some great friends here. In the meantime, I am missing my nearest and dearest very much. You know who you are.