So Today Was a Quiet Morning and I Made Jam: Pluot Jam

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

-For your lazy, quiet Sunday.-

It's a quiet Sunday for once and only because I did all the yard work, cleaning, and my writing yesterday. I survived a work week that was more stressful than it should have been. As a reward I was overjoyed to have a college friend crash the night as we played catch up and made Tollhouse cookies. We spent the morning over jasmine tea to recover from the cocktails and too many bottles of wine the night before. Now? Now the windows are all heaved open and the screen doors shiver in the first inklings of autumn weather that's creeped in. It's the kind that feels cold and wet, and causes the remaining squash blossoms to lazily unfurl at ten in the morning.

Last night, like I said, was a night of drinking cocktails with too much lavender and not nearly enough soda water. A night melding with the Playstation - I used to be a gamer, but now I'm jaded by nostalgia - and becoming terribly addictied to Orange is the New Black. 

I also got my first magazine review for the book. Culture magazine called it, "a scrumptious page-turner... this book is well suited for turophiles craving cheese science and historical facts as the background for each recipe." I'm pretty darn thrilled with that. Only yesterday I did my first magazine interview, which was exciting and sort of alarming because after years of conducting interviews this was a bit of a switch. I'm still learning what my answers are and once or twice I had to say "off the record" because I was talking myself in circles and getting off topic, and apparently "off the record" is a thing people actually have to say. Who knew?

The book tour is also all-encompassing. We're planning events in Sacramento, Bay Area, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, New York, and possibly Birmingham and Charlotte. There are stores and restaurants to contact, marketing schedules, book stores need to be talked to; it's a logistical nightmare that only Clive Barker or an overeager public relations manager could conceive of.

Still, it's exciting and so many talented people are helping make this all happen. I'm quite blessed.

So then I ended up making jam from a sack of pluots a friend gave me.

I added vanilla bean because that's something I always do, and immediately into cooking down the molten gel I was smitten with the process all over again as I always am with jams involving vanilla.

The electric magenta color, the heavy creamy aroma of the Mexican vanilla bean, the way pluot skins melt into tart liquor but the flesh stays whole and tight. It's a jammer's jam. The kind that you strive to get the perfect texture, color, and flavor. That elusive perfect jar that only occurs when the fruit is just right, your mandala is whole, and the planets have aligned like a string of pearls. A tiny tab of butter helps with the foaming, too.

And so I made jam today in with the damp, weighted air coming in through the kitchen window and made my kitchen smell like home and with it made my Sunday feel like everything was right with the world.

Pluot Jam
Makes 8-10 8-ounce jars

6 pounds pluots, pits discarded, diced
2 pounds, 8 ounces sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, seeded
pinch of butter
1 packet of pectin

Place all the ingredients but the pectin in a large non-reactive pot and let sit for 4 hours or overnight so that the sugar melts and the whole mess gets nice and saucy. Place it all over medium-high heat. The mixture will start giving up a large, sticky foam. Use a wide spoon and skim it all off as the foam make for murky, unclean looking jam. (It tastes awesome though. Reserve it and scoop it over yogurt for a happy, jam-maker's treat.)

Continue to cook and monitor the heat closely, stirring often to prevent the bottom from scorching, which will lead to icky flavors in your otherwise perfect jam. At about 25-40 minutes when you can run a spoon through the pot and see the bottom before the molten fruit slowly rushed in to cover the space add the pectin and boil hard for 1 minute.

Place in sterilized jars and place in a hot water bath for 10 minutes as you would any other canning project. Discard the vanilla bean, or wash it out, dry it, and place in a small container with sugar for vanilla sugar for future baking projects. 


  1. How come no love for the Midwest, like Chicago? We would love to have you here! Wisconsin is full of cheese lovers that are probably very sad you guys are only sticking to the coasts. :(

    I'll be buying the book either way. :)

    1. It sadly just comes to the amount of time we both can take off of work and the money available to travel. We're trying to find a way there, believe me. =(

  2. I haven't made jam with pluots yet, but now I definitely want to. The color looks lovely.

    Isn't Orange is the New Black great? I binge-watched the entire season, and now I have to face the sad reality that there won't be any new episodes till next year.

  3. The first step says to place all the ingredients, but then after it's been cooking you say to add the pectin... So all ingredients except the pectin? I've never made jam so I just want to make sure I get ti right. :)

    1. Sorry, add the pectin at the very end. Jam making isn't hard at all. Just be sure that everything has been fully sterilized. If you don't have the equipment to do a waterbath, don't stress too much, but you won't have air sealed it and will need to store the jam in the fridge. =)

  4. To peel or not to peel the pluots?

    And by the way, I look forward to your blog every Tuesday. You make me laugh out loud. Thank you for that.

  5. Congrats on all the exciting book related goodness. I am SO hooked on Orange is the new Black. I actually watched the whole thing in like 2 weeks. I couldn't stop myself. Loving it!

  6. Garrett, any idea when the tour in the bay area will be? Hubby and I will be out in that area in October for our honeymoon, we'll come from the East coast to you! ;-)

    1. There will be an event at The Sacred Wheel in Oakland at 6:00 on October 26th.

      We will put out a full list once we're closer to the release date. =)

  7. Garret where and when in New York??? Would love to meet you and get an autographed copy of this wonderful book!!!

    1. Still working on that one. It's happening, just hammering out details still. =)

  8. NY? Yay! Please let us know as soon as you have the details. I'll promise my first born to my coworkers if necessary to be there :)

  9. Sweet! Waiting with bated breath for the New York appearance.
    Love how you take the time to answer these posts. You're the best.

  10. You're such a hardworking person who is a very passionate food lover. I enjoyed your blog post for today and the Pluot Jam seems pretty interesting to me. Since, I never tried to eat plout before..

  11. I pre-ordered your book the second you announced that you were going to have a book. I've been patiently waiting! I can't wait!

  12. I am SO hooked on Orange is the new Black. I actually watched the whole thing in like 2 weeks. I couldn't stop myself. Loving it!
    Lucy @ Humidifier For Baby


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