Preserving is a craft, but it can be an art form too. One taste of a great jam is all you need to understand that a master jam-maker preserves not just the flesh of the fruit, but its very essence, the fleeting flavor that makes that particular fruit unique.
This week we are sharing the preserved foods experts can't live without, and today we turn to jam-maker and fruit whisperer Jessica Koslow of Sqirl, whose jams, jellies and marmalades made from heirloom fruit varieties have garnered a cult following in Southern California and beyond.
If you could preserve only one type of fruit, what would it be?
Of all the rare fruits in California, such as youngberries, Murrayberries, or even the elusive sour cherry, there's nothing I desire more than the French greengage plum, Reine Claudes.
The fruit is bright with acidity yet high in natural sugars (31º Brix), so it needs little added to be an honest representation of itself in jam form. Reine Claudes are hard to find in California, but this year Andy's Orchards in Morgan Hill, CA has the first commercial crop. I bought as many as I could!
What will you do with the jam?
Glaze the top of a greengage upside cake, spread it over a thickly cut piece of toasted brioche, add a generous dollop to a bowl of rice pudding and hazelnuts, or sneakily eat a spoonful to satisfy my sweet tooth.
Thank you, Jessica!
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(Images: Jessica Koslow; Anjali Prasertong)