Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The UtHC Jam, Jelly & Preserve Swap

My current post-swap jam pantry: a beautiful thing.

Jams and jellies, chutneys and coulis, salsas and sauces, and a variety of fruit butters: such was the dazzling selection of lovingly-made home preserves at my recent swap. Dressed up or dressed down, the jars dazzled with their colorful fillings and cute labels.

Monday morning after the swap, I was walking on clouds. Nothing could bring me down, not both babies waking up with runny noses, not the mountain of laundry, not even the discovery that my dishwasher was broken. I kept looking over my stash of jam like a mother hen counting her eggs, and reveling in the sheer good fortune of this much jam under my roof. I had been so caught up in the planning and organizing of the swap, that I had forgotten about the end result: a well-stocked jam pantry for winter. The realization that this was mine, all mine, was a feeling, I imagine, similar to the discovery of a lottery win.
Bring on the snow, I say!

On a chilly Sunday afternoon, about twenty-five of us gathered with a few of our significant others at a much anticipated swap hosted by myself and my mother-in-law. The doorbell rang and rang, and as each person arrived with a box or two of jam under their arms, the main table filled up fast with the bounty, and the space beneath the table held the empty boxes.

Soon there was jam as far as the eye could see. Hallelujah!

With the main table groaning under 300 or so jars, we directed the savory preserves to a table of their own, where they looked quite pretty, I must say.

With the jam set up for viewing, and people eagerly circling the table scoping out the land, it was time for the tasting. Tea and coffee were brewed and I cracked open one jar of every kind of jam I could get my hands on. I had just taken several dozen scones out of the oven and as three of my dear friends had brought fresh scones along also, I heaped three baskets high and set them out with the jam.

And the tasting was underway!
Just listen to some of these varieties: Rhubarb-Vanilla Jelly, Pumpkin-Apple Butter, Pear-Rosemary Jam, Garlic & Caramelized Onion Jam, Cranberry-Apple Jelly, Quebec Strawberry-Maple Jam, Pear & Cashew Chutney...hungry yet?

I could tell the guests were itching to get down to business, so although I had scarcely tasted any jam (due to high traffic around the jam bar), I called the swap to order! Of course there are guidelines to remind people of: take only as many jars as you brought, no pushing, and so on.
Then people grabbed their boxes and the swap was officially on.

It was over in about seven minutes. When the dust settled, each jar had a home and people were smiling. I was thrilled with my stash, but I hadn't been quick enough. I missed out on some Lemon Butter and some Okanagan Cherry Jam. Sniff!

That was it! Before people were on their way, we raffled off a few items for charity that our guests of honour, Philippe and Ethné de Vienne had generously donated (spice kits! cookbook!), and did a draw for the door prize--a handmade, hand embroidered vintage-style apron similar to this one.

My mother-in-law and I had put our heads together to come up with a design for a decidedly girly apron and we loved how it turned out! She did a fantastic job of sewing them up and I gave them a personal touch by embroidering on the pocket. I don't think I've embroidered in about 22 years, so if you can't read what it says, that's OK. (Hint: it's the name of this blog).

The best part is that we made an extra one for YOU! Remember the little surprise I promised a few weeks ago? Well all you have to do is leave a comment on this post and I'll submit your name for a draw to win the apron pictured above in a giveaway.
You have until midnight on Sunday, November 23 to leave a comment. No anonymous comments, please. Good luck to all!
(For those of you who really want this apron, or one similar and don't want to leave it to chance, you can order one from my MIL, the lovely and talented Terrie, through me via email. Maybe I'll even monogram it for you.)

So a big thank you to all those who helped make this swap a success: Dorothy, Philippe, Ethné, Miranda, Terrie, Nadia, Rachel, and Danny.
Danny took most of the photos throughout the event, as I was otherwise occupied; didn't he do a great job?

There you have it. Hope you enjoyed the roundup and for those of you who couldn't make it, there's always next year!


Abby said...

The swap looks like SO much fun! I'm jealous - I love jams and jellies and such and homemade is the best!

kickpleat said...

wow, super impressive!! amazing.

Lorie said...

This post is inspiring! I just bought my first canning pot + starter set and I'm not sure what to make first. Maybe a jam or chutney?

mlindley said...

I think it only fair that since I had to miss out on this amazing event(if I were closer I most definitely would have been there) that I should win ;)
On the off chance that my name isn't drawn however, could you please let me know how much the aprons are? I am interested in a few for upcoming b-day presents.
congratulations again on the event.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

What a happy thing it must be to have all those jars of jewel-toned jam to bring sweet memories to your table all winter long!

jolierouge said...

You put my jam collection to shame.
I am going to have to organize one of these.

Anna at Mediocre Chocolate said...

That's just about the best idea ever. Wish I knew some jam-minded people! You should do an annual cookbook with all the jam recipes in it--I bet it would sell out quickly! And the aprons are darling.

Sabayon said...

Once again I am sad I did not live in quebec and could not participate. That pear and cashew chutney sounds especially intriguing. You guys should make a recipe book!

sandi said...

I am an American living in Athens Greece & stumbled onto your blog today and quickly bookmarked it! What a wonderful way to meet my Greek neighbors --- for next year! I wish I could bring my pepper-jelly and swap w/your friends (I also made quince jelly this year). I met the man across the street by asking him if I could have some of his peppers from his garden (w/which to make my jam---since my pepper plant produced two jalapenos this year). I don't speak Greek but he took the jam I produced w/a huge smile!
Thanks Aimee for this new idea of connection! sandi

Maria said...

The swap looks like tons of fun!! What a great idea!! I want to sample them all! And your apron is super cute!

Cheryl A said...

If only I lived in Montreal...

Portable Soap Box Girl said...

I'm stuck in a jealousy jam. Seriously. They'd all be so sweet on scones.

Cynthia said...

this looks like it was so much fun! what a gorgeous varity too! you must keep us posted as you taste them all. i want to know which ones are your favourites.

Culinarywannabe said...

I am wishing I had a warm scone and some yummy jam right now! This definitely made me hungry. Maybe I'll even experiment with canning next summer. :)

Janet said...

I think this is a fabulous idea. I live in the Yukon in Northern Canada and would like to host something similar next year. Thank you!

Jen said...

Your jam pantry is a beautiful thing! I am so jealous, I would love to do something like that.


Amber said...

I just tried your pumpkin spice muffins from a previous post Aimee and they are lovely - thanks!
Oh and of course I want to win the apron! It's so girly and pretty, nice job Terrie!

Zaak said...

Dang yo! Them's some pretty sweet lookin' pics! Nice work Aimée. Them jams looks sweet too!

I want the apron for my wife. I want it bad.

Gigi said...

The jams et al sound amazing...but I LOVE that apron!

Jenny said...

Amazing! As the mother of a toddler, I am in awe of you for organizing such a fun and unique gathering. Everything looks delicious! Thank you for the detailed post, I loved it.

Anonymous said...

Yum, I'm glad you believed in my jam making ability enough to convince me to come. It was an excellent time, and I've been getting sugar highs ever since!

Racheal said...

That looks like such a tasty blast! I miss making jams, jellies and butters with my mom. Just beautiful!

The Pinnt's said...

What creativity! I wish I could do something like that! I'll have to put my thinking cap on. Beautiful apron too!

Leesa said...

That would be HEAVEN for me!!!!! You must have been in heaven!!!! YUMMMMM!!!!!

Ingrid said...

WOW! That's a lot of jam, jellies, salsas, chutneys, and other nameless yummies! I'd say yes you've hit the jackpot even if you didn't get the lemon butter which by the way, I would have been sadden by the loss as well.

I can easily read that it says Under the High Chair and you guys did a lovely job.

-K said...

Sniff! If only my Mom still lived in Quebec instead of Seattle, she could have participated in the swap!

It all looks amazing!

Bellini Valli said...

Congratulations to everyone for making your swap a great success Aimee. If I lived closer my Okanagan Blueberries in Grand Marnier Syrup would have been an additon for sure:D

Liz said...

ok, the apron is BEAUTIFUL!!! and i want it!! i don't have one because i am insane and won't buy unless its the PERFECT apron, so i am constantly getting my clothes dirty when i bake!! so i hope you pick me!!! (if you take bribes let me know.....hehe)
BTW the swap looked amazing!!


Lucy said...

Nothing at all wrong with that embroidery. Indeed, it's really quite good!

Swap sounds like a great idea...I might just have to nick your idea (giving full credit, of course!) for the next Melbourne Blogmeet.

missweb said...

It was awesome Aimee! And the Jams are a wonderful excuse to stock up on yummy breads and butter chicken for the chutney. My stash does compare! In fact it looks quite similar! Thank you again for all your hard work.

Anonymous said...

looks like good fun !

adozeneggs said...

That looks like so much fun! Wish we could have one here.

Moltomom said...

Beautiful apron! And the swap sounds like a lot of delicious fun!

Caviar and Codfish said...

Oh my gosh, you are the cleverest woman in the world - a jam swap? Genius!!

Emily said...

Apron! I want it. So cute.

The swap looks like so much fun. You had a great turnout! I wish I could have been there.

I want one of your scones.

Emily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fig said...

love it love it love it! wish i could have participated!

Melanie said...

I love all the beautiful jars. I love jelly! My dad makes a great rubarb. Yum!

abigail @ Piece of Cake said...

HOLY COW!!! it's like the Jam Olympics!

still no peanut butter?

Eugenia said...

Aimee, I've been reading your blog since you started thanks to Haidi. I made several jars of the garden herb sauce this summer - thanks to you it was delicious. I made a lot of fig jam too- we had a bumper crop - wish I had some friends that liked to preserve - a swap sounds like a lot more fun than the proverbial Bunko night which I DON'T do! Thanks for the amuse bouche for the brain that your blog provides. It's a welcome moment in my day. Cheers - gigi

Claudia said...

Fantastic event. And the customized apron is lovely.

I wish I was there.


Vic said...

Wow. That's amazing. The Jam Swap is such a good idea. I may have to steal it and put on one of my own (on a much much smaller scale) next year.
nighean*dot*dhonn*at*gmail *dot*com

LyB said...

I'm sorry I had to miss it, Aimée. Sound like you had a great time. Did any of your guests share their recipes by any chance? :)

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

That looked like a lot of fun...Misadventures in Italy had a Cookie swap last week, Jam and cookies :-)


Annie said...

I would love to participate to this year Jam Swap! Keep us posted!

Stacie D said...

Love, love love this! Jamming season is here with berries in season and stonefruit on it's way. After reading about your jam swap I must host one here in San Francisco. Thanks for the fantastic idea. Will let you know how it turns out

Diana Bauman said...

Oh Aimee, You've inspired me to organize a swap this year!

Rachel B said...

I am now inspired to host my very own swap now! :D Thank you!

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