The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders includes recipes like When Has a Preserve Finished Cooking?; English Marmalade; Italian Prune & Cardamom Conserve; and Brown Turkey Fig Jam with Sherry & Fennel.
by Rachel Saunders
The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook represents the distillation of jam aficionado Rachel Saunders' 10-year exploration of everything fruit. This definitive jam and marmalade how-to guide presents over 100 fruit preserve recipes for home and professional cooks to prepare throughout the year.
In her unflinching search for the perfect balance of flavor, texture and appearance, Saunders brings a modern sustainable eye to the age-old nostalgia of the jam-maker's kitchen. The same sentiment reigns at her San Francisco Bay-Area jam company, Blue Chair Fruit, which sources only from local organic farmers and produces its small-batch wonders in traditional French copper kettles. The resulting cookbook is a vast overview of the art of jam, dressed up with clear descriptions of preserving techniques, stunning photography and over 100 recipes.
In The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, Saunders tells the story of this personal love affair with fruit through precise descriptions and handsomely illustrated instructions that address each stage of cooking and testing for doneness. Jams, jellies, marmalades, preserves, conserves, even pie fillings are included, introduced by an in-depth section that defines and describes the properties of each in captivating detail. A similar thoroughness guides an A-Z review of the recipes' fruits and their varieties, approached from a jam maker's perspective.Throughout, the author's distinctive voice makes the preserving process a pleasure to explore.
Saunders' passion for fresh, seasonal and local fruits informs every pearl of the longsought wisdom she shares—only plant-ripened produce provides a natural intensity and sweetness that requires less sugar while delivering more flavor. Thus, recipes are chronicled seasonally by fruit, with recipes arranged month-to-month to ensure the book remains a gem throughout the year. April examines rhubarb and strawberry, while July taps sour cherry, currant and Meyer lemon. The dead of winter fares just as well, with bergamot and grapefruit in January and orange and kumquat in early spring. Far from a traditionalist, Saunders also explores a variety of herbs, spices and spirits to produce nuanced flavor combinations that range from basic to complex: Brandied Red Cherry Conserve, White Guava & Meyer Lemon Marmalade, Italian Prune & Cardamom Conserve, even Strawberry Jam with Aged Balsamic & Black Pepper.
Saunders also shares her conviction that preserving is an aesthetic as much as a technical endeavor. Each recipe includes suggestions for variation, encouraging home cooks to prepare unique creations that express their own style. Informed by her background in art history and French culture (she studied at Smith College as well as La Sorbonne in Paris), Saunders fills every page with the sense of sheer fun, adventure and imagination that have inspired the book's creation.
The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook features:
Rachel Saunders is the owner and founder of Blue Chair Fruit, a jam company specializing in sustainably farmed fruits of the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to cooking and creating all of Blue Chair's preserves, Rachel teaches year-round jam-and-marmalade-making classes at her Oakland kitchen. A native of New York State, she studied France and the French language at Smith College in Northhampton, Massachusetts, and at La Sorbonne-Paris IV. She received her degree from Smith at age 20. This is her first book.
This page created November 2010
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