BREADBAR Santa Monica hosted a “Jam Session” on March 14, featuring an intro by stone fruit and tangerine farmer Debbie Quail and kitchen demo with Chef Rogelio Marhx and Daniela Galarza. They told the assembled masses how to make vanilla kumquat marmalade, strawberry rosemary rhubarb jam and gingered apple butter, focusing on ingredients that are either peaking or coming into season. No matter what time of year, Galarza encouraged classmates to “preserve the season” by canning fruits and vegetables.
Quail has been farming since age 12, when she helped her grandfather grow tomatoes. She currently farms 100 acres near Fresno and works 15 farmers’ markets around L.A., including Sunday in Hollywood. Her farm’s certified organic and currently grows Mandarins. In six weeks, she plans to harvest peaches, apricots and nectarines. Quail discussed her passion for farmers’ markets, saying, “I love being at the farmers’ markets because it’s a personal, intimate setting…The grocery store is horrible. It’s gassed or picked 10 days too early…We’ve found our niche because we provide quality.”
It’s just apples, ginger and a little bit of honey. Marhx suggested clover or buckwheat. Start by making applesauce. The pectin will reduce down and become jelly. Peels have pectin. When using citrus, remove the seeds or the marmalade becomes bitter.
The most tedious part of producing kumquat marmalade: de-seeding. Galarza made a recommendation: “Bring two friends and a lot of gossip.” Boil, discard, boil, discard, boil, then strain kumquats. To create volume, add sugar using a 10:7 fruit to sugar ratio. If you’re using 10 pounds of fruit, use 7 pounds of sugar. You boil to leech away bitterness.
With oranges, boil and discard 7 times. The sweeter the fruit, the less boiling. For blood oranges, boil and discard 3-4 times.
Add flourishes like lavender, rosewater or Szechuan peppercorn at the end. Rogelio: “If you feel it, just do it. If it doesn’t taste good, don’t do it again.”
The day’s final lesson of the day involving food safety. So canners can avoid botulism, it’s important to disinfect the jar for 10 minutes at 180 degrees, prior to canning. When jarring marmalade, tap it to remove air bubbles. Tighten the lid “fingerprint tight” to create a seal, then boil the jars for 7-10 more minutes. One attendee told tales of finding their grandparents’ canned jams. If the seal is still there, theoretically it might be edible, but Galarza and Marhx recommended limiting the shelf life to one year.
Here are the day’s full recipes, courtesy of Chef Rogelio Marhx:
GINGERED APPLE BUTTER
5 lb. organic Fuji apples, peeled and cored
10 oz. water
8 oz. ginger, peeled
5 oz. lemon juice
8 oz. honey
1) Combine fruit and water in a heavy saucepan. Place ginger in cheese cloth and tie up. Add to saucepan. Simmer until apples cooked through.
2) Add lemon juice
3) Bring mixture to a low boil
4) Simmer until cooked down by ¼
5) Remove ginger
6) Add honey
7) Jar while hot or let cool at room temperature and place in reusable containers in refrigerator for 1 month
Yields about six 8 oz. mason jars or about 2.5 pints of jam.
VANILLA KUMQUAT MARMALADE
5 lb. kumquats, sliced and seeded
1 vanilla bean
4 lb. sugar
1) In a heavy-bottomed pot bring 5 qts. water to a rolling boil. Add kumquats. Blanch. Drain. Repeat twice more.
2) In a heavy-bottomed pot add blanched fruit, split vanilla bean, sugar and enough water t ocover.
3) Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.
4) Boil until mixture thickens.
5) Pour into hot jars, leaving 12 inch of headspace between lid and top of jar.
Yields about 24 8 oz. mason jars or about 10 pints of jam.
5 lb. strawberries, without stems
1 lb. rhubarb, chopped
5 lb. sugar
Grated zest of 3 Meyer lemons
5 oz. bottled organic lemon juice
1) Combine fruit, sugar and lemon zest in a heavy sauce pan. Mash berries and rhubarb with potato masher or slotted spoon. Simmer until sugar dissolves.
2) Add lemon juice
3) Bring mixture to a boil
4) Cook until conserve reaches 220F or is thick enough to completely coat a spoon.
5) Jar while hot or let cool at room temperature and place in reusable containers in refrigerator for 1 month.
Yields about 12 8 oz. mason jars or about 5 pints of jam.