Friday, November 27, 2009

Stocking the Jam Pantry 2009

Photo by Ian of Coco Bean

There are some events that go out the window when one is days away from a major move and then there are a select few that cannot be missed.

Case in point, I was packing boxes and deep cleaning my pantry during Cupcake Camp Montreal and nary one crumb of cupcake did I taste. A few weeks earlier, however, I managed to organize and host my annual Jam Swap, which I'll share more about later in the post.

Stocking the jam pantry must happen, no matter how busy we are.

But first, back to the bit about pantry cleaning.
I made a serious of discoveries that inspired a mini series on Twitter and while normally I wouldn't bother to discourse about the contents of my pantry as I empty & pack it, I felt there were lessons to be learned along the way. Really, these are pearls of wisdom.
  • ( Hubby's pantry tip) There is no such thing as stale marshmallows. (Or rather "MarshmalLOW", as they ceased to have individual status long ago.
  • For the love of Pete, don't store those gorgeous organic black raspberry preserves so deep in your pantry you forget about them. *Sniff* (This was a particular bitter pill to swallow, as the whole lot ended up in the garbage.)
  • Your friends are never going to like those Thai Tom Yum Spiced Peanuts, so stop stocking them & serving them at parties.
  • Nestea? The best before date is 2005. First and last time I'll buy it. Really, do yourself a favor, skip it & make sweet tea from scratch.
  • Items NOT to buy in bulk: tapioca pearls, dried kaffir lime leaves, bran...bulghur. Who am I kidding?? NO ONE eats that much bulghur.
  • Items to stock up on: Whole wheat couscous, Nutella, olives, black fig tapenade, dried cranberries and...jam.

Jam? Oh that's right, I hosted my annual jam swap a few weeks ago and never told you about it. This was separate from my Virtual Swap, although the two events were just days apart. (If you're wondering, yes, it got a little confusing organizing the 'real' swap and the 'virtual' swap.)

It was a wonderful success, thanks to all who participated and brought their stellar jams. Here are just a few of the flavors that left us weak in the knees...
Pineapple, Rhubarb and Tonka Bean Jam, Pumpkin-Apple Butter with Vanilla Bean, Plum & Pomegranate Jam, and beloved classics like Strawberry, Black Currant, and Grape Jelly.

A 'scone bar' was provided as the vehicle for the jams we tasted; and taste we did - for almost two hours!
The dining room table groaned under the weight of all the jam jars, but was soon relieved of its burden as the actual swap took only a few minutes.

Yours truly making my jam selections. Photo by Ian of Cocoa Bean

Local bloggers, Ian and Christie of Coco Bean were kind enough to accept my invitation to the swap and let's just say that as soon as I knew Ian was coming, I almost left my camera at home. You'll understand why when you see his shots. He's a very talented photographer and one that I was more than happy to defer the task of documenting the event.
As it was, I kept busy enough warming scones, making coffee, cuddling my boys, chatting with guests and tasting jam; my camera was hardly touched all morning. I snapped a few shots, but Ian really captured the event.

Please visit Coco Bean for a stunning recap of this fall's jam swap. The photos are not to be missed, including a sweet mother-son moment. I'm really not used to being on the other side of the camera! Thanks, Ian!

Thanks to all who helped make the swap happen and to all who participated.
Until next year!


Vicki said...

Look at all that lovely jam! It is my dream to make jam. My grandmothers and aunts made the most beautiful pyracantha berry jelly. It looked like a bottled jewel. Never heard of anyone else making it.

Unplanned Cooking said...

I wish I opened my pantry door and found that! I love homemade jam, but have never tried making it. We usually pick some up at our farmer's market.

Cheryl Arkison said...

I love hearing the pantry finds. I finally threw out beignet mix from my brother's wedding in New Orleans in 2000!

Hmm, and the idea of a real jam swap sounds heavenly. Good luck in the coming week.

Maria said...

Look at all of that jam! How fun!!

Bellini Valli said...

Sounds like a wonderful event to me!!!

Jan (Mixing Bowl Kids) said...

The idea of a Jam swap is brilliant. I like it so much more than a cookie swap.

Julie said...

What a brilliant idea! I may just steal it for next year... I laughed at your pantry clean out play by play too. Makes me want to write up the contents of the bathroom cupboard I just cleaned out...

A. said...

We've already gone through the grape jelly and are almost done the strawberry jam... I am NOT leaving all these jams sitting in my pantry this year :-)

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