We are beyond excited to introduce a regular new cooking column to Made Local Magazine. Please give a warm welcome to Sarah Whitmore, a local writer, teacher, self-taught cook, and stand-up comedian who performs in and around San Francisco and the North Bay. For the last year, I’ve been an avid follower of Sarah’s blog Savorbang, which features delicious recipes punctuated with a keen wit that’s brought a bit of comic relief to the often dark and twisted news coming out of Washington D.C. And those recipes—so good. Welcome Savorbang!
Savorbang’s 4, 3, 2, 1 Blackberry Jam!
Woohoo! Rainy winter pays off. Blackberries my foodies, blackberries. Free for the picking and we can make a million things with them: fancy jam, syrup, marinade, salad dressing, plant dyes—yeah, you can really wreck your clothes with blackberries.
I present ONE SIMPLE RECIPE to rule them all. Four ingredients, plus heat and time. Blackberries, Pinot noir (local, duh), lemon juice, and sugar (or experiment with other sweeteners—all the cool kids are doing it). The wine and lemon add depth and zing to the lush berries.
This recipe is for people who are tired of dishes calling for wild foraged beetle ankles and conch-fermented sea quince. I overheard a woman at a Vintage Jams workshop railing, FURIOUS, that her imported gooseberries contained ZERO fruit pectin. She blamed Monsanto. I blame them too. But seriously, Uber-Foodies, take a knee. First of all, it’s not vintage unless you used a time machine. We’re making modern/contemporary jam here. Vintage jam will give you cramps.
Recipes are such hogwash. Seasoned cooks take a recipe and tweak, tweak, stir, sprinkle, fix—it turns out delicious. Regular people can follow the same recipe, fail, and feel like bozos. What did they do wrong? Nothing. Cooking is hard and takes practice, like anything else. I could meticulously follow instructions for performing appendectomies. Doesn’t mean I won’t screw up the first few—have to pitch those patients in the compost and order pizza. You get what I’m saying. With that said, this recipe is bozo proof. You could combine these ingredients and not even cook them. You’d still have a delicious liquid to mix into your high-falutin’ mineral water and/or gin.
4 cups blackberries (very firmly packed)
3 cups sugar
2 cups Pinot Noir (or janky box wine. Test it, you’re a scientist!)
1 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 medium lemons)
Yield: Approx. 5 cups sauce or 4 cups jam or 2 cups fruit cheese.
Place ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot. Cook over medium heat until simmering. Stir. Cook uncovered for 20 to 35 minutes. Crank it up to medium high—as long as you stir frequently. It will seem soupy forever. At about 20 minutes, it starts to thicken. When you lift the spoon out, the liquid should set sticky without dripping off. Remove pot from heat. It’s ready to set into a thick sauce, maybe a nice jam. Pour immediately into clean jars for jam. For a thick fruit spread, cook 10-15 minutes more. For a dense paste or “fruit cheese,” cook for up to 90 minutes.
Spoon jam or sauce over blended, equal parts of Mascarpone and cream cheese for a simple, sophisticated dessert. • Top a wheel of Brie with two tablespoons jam plus a few fresh berries and bake.
Serve wedges of blackberry fruit cheese with thin slices of Spanish Manchego and sharp cheddar.
Mix sauce into a marinade for kebabs or make salad dressing.
For more blackberry jam inspiration go to savorbang.com/category/recipes. You can also follow Sarah Whitmore on Instagram, Twitter (@savorbang), and Facebook or subscribe to savorbang.com.