I’m a believer in jam. I think a society that deals in filled and sealed jam jars as its currency is probably pretty happy as a whole. Swapping blueberry jam for boysenberry couldn’t possibly breed ill will. People would be too busy baking biscuits for smothering with fruit spread to worry much about a looming apocalypse or adulterous politico. In jam we trust.
Think about it. With jam everybody wins.
Rhubarb jam on toast on another unseasonably disagreeable day may feel as precious as gold when you’re at the breakfast table. And things have gotten pretty complicated for us here. So let’s slow down. Make some jam.
Homemade jam is a bottled season that you can open whenever you need a little pick-me-up. A reminder that there is still good that comes from the world turning and time passing. Yes, it is has been rainy and cool for weeks here, but I know its spring because I can see ruby red rhubarb. And when I talked to my mother yesterday she had just picked a few stalks to make some loaves of rhubarb bread. It made me homesick.
Yes, I had that kind of childhood. I grew up with loaves of quick bread and jars of homemade jam made with fruit picked by my house or from a nearby orchard we’d travel to in our minivan. So I have a sweet spot for the stuff. (Please note: I do not—nor will I ever—have a sweet spot for minivans. Especially maroon-colored ones.)
While my life isn’t currently filled with rhubarb plants and blackberry bushes in convenient proximity, having a steady supply of homemade jam certainly doesn’t hurt. It’s also entirely possible to pull off. For credibility with this, I point to The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders. It’s divided into delicious seasons and features classics like East Coast blueberry jam, as well as pairings that place cardamom and orange marmalade together (at last!).
So I couldn’t resist when I found kumquats for Saunders’ rhubarb kumquat jam. The tiny oval-shaped citrus is a lovely counterpart to the rhubarb and the jam has enough sugar to soothe the face pucker that rhubarb often provides. This spread is pleading for a partner in the buttermilk scone department. But it’s also lovely eaten simply by the spoonful, sitting on a kitchen stoop. (Mine has definitely seen a fair amount of jam action going down recently.)
So if someone is selling a society based on jam, I’m buying. I’ll happily collect my rhubarb jam, pack up, and ship out. I’m certain this jam is better than a greenback: good for most debts, public and private, and far superior on scones.