Posts by Malisa

Spirit of Food Series - Essay 1: Jam Making

Hello! This is the first post of my new series on the book, "The Spirit of Food" edited by Leslie Leyland Fields. 

This week I read the first essay written by Patty Kirk, titled: Wild Fruit. She wrote about berry picking and how she felt communion with God and creation as she did so.

Just as God combined parts of his creation-lights and dark sky, dirt and breath-to make other things, we also combine things- berries and sugar and lemons and heat-to make other things and pronounce them good. 

Cooking, for me, is the emulation of the deity's most essential habit: to create. As such, to cook is to worship. (p. 5)

Kirk's essay included a recipe on how to make fruit jams. Seeing as how she felt being in nature caused her to feel closer to God, I thought it would be fun to go and pick berries to use to make the recipe. So, off we went to a pick-your-own fruit patch in rural Davis, Impossible Acres, and I loved it!

We took one of the employee's suggestions and headed to the back of the farm to begin our berry picking. I enjoyed picking our own fruit. I was reminded of what Kirk wrote when I felt a cool breeze and an appreciation for the shade of fruit trees surrounding the property.

Most of the berry plants had fruits at various stages of ripening. The berries we chose were dark black and easily came off the vine. 

Our berry harvest!

My companion, photographer, and berry carrier.

Once we got home, we rinsed off the berries as they had some ants on them and began cooking them. I found out (from Google) that there is a difference between jams and jellies. Jams are a way to preserve the fruits, so they have pieces of fruit in them. Jellies are made from the fruit's juice. Pectin, the thickening agent, is naturally found in fruit.  

I actually made both jam and jelly. For the jam, I mashed the berries and began boiling them. I strained all of the seeds out of the blackberries in order to make a jelly for Anthony. All I added to the berries was sugar. Kirk's parallel between cooking and creating was something I thought about as I made the jam and jelly. I definitely think God designed us to create things and cooking is one thing I really enjoy!

The one on the left is with seeds, the one on the right is seedless. I am quite pleased with the finished product! 

Lastly, a video for you, my wonderful readers, on what the jam and jelly looked like as it cooked.