For so many years I've wanted to learn how to can or preserve fruit, but have never tried until this past weekend. Needless to say, I'm now completely hooked! Already I've found that I prefer small batch recipes that allow me to experiment freely without getting bored. That said, I was immediately drawn to the recipes of Christine Ferber, the Alsacian "Queen of Jam" who is well-known for her superb confitures. Thus far, I've tried two of her recipes (see below) and plan to try more very soon. They were extraordinary!

Some history from author Madelaine Bullwinkel: "Evidence of the first cooked fruit preserved in sugar comes from the early years of the Italian Renaissance. The fruits are described in Boccaccio's fourteenth-century writing as luxurious fare for the aristocracy living a romantic lifestyle. At that time, sugar was from the Near East through Venice; it remained rare and quite expensive through the eighteenth century."

Here's what I've made:
I still need to find some good peach recipes as we have a peach orchard nearby and they're ready to be picked. Here's a few other recipes that I want to try (though, of course, not all at once!):
Christine Ferber Recipes (See also: Mes Confitures: The Jams and Jellies of Christine Ferber):
Raspberry Chocolate Jam (Posted at GardenWeb)

2 3/4 lbs raspberries, or 2 1/4 lbs net
3 1/2 cups sugar
Juice of one lemon
9 oz bittersweet chocolate (68% cocoa)

Pick over the raspberries. Omit rinsing them so as to keep their fragrance. Put the raspberries through a food mill (fine disk). In a preserving pan, mix the raspberry pulp with the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes, stirring gently and skimming carefully. Add the chocolate, grated. Mix and then pour into a ceramic bowl. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and refrigerate overnight.

Next day return the mixture to a boil. Continue cooking on high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring and skimming if needed. Return to a boil. Check the set. Put the jam into jars immediately and seal.


I used 4 oz bittersweet chocolate and 1 oz unsweetened. I used a mix of red and black raspberries but I think you want whatever berries have the richest, deepest flavor.

Also, you should process this in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (use half-pint jars). Good on ice cream, or swirled through yogurt, or spread on popovers.

Decadent Banana Split Conserve (Posted at GardenWeb)

4 cups thoroughly mashed bananas
5 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup bottled lemon juice
1 teaspoon Fruit Fresh (absorbic acid)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 package liquid pectin -- (3 ounce)
3 tablespoons pure cocoa powder 
2 tablespoons light rum or rum extract
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

In a medium stockpot, combine the mashed bananas, lemon juice and Fruit Fresh. Gradually add in the sugar, cocoa powder and butter. Over medium heat, heat the mixture stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved.

Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly so it will not scorch. Stir in the liquid pectin and return to a full rolling boil for 1 more minute, stirring constantly. Skim off any foam. Remove the stockpot from the heat, stir in the walnuts and the rum. Ladle into sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe rims. Cap and seal. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes for half-pints or 15 minutes for pints. Yields 9 to 10 half-pints.


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