Sum(mer) time for Jam

Sum(mer) time for Jam

Even with the heat soaring, nothing’s better than juicy, sticky fruit thrown in a pot with sugar and cooked to a perfectly molten lava stage. Inspiration from the farmers market’s succulent peaches, tart plums and oh so sweet strawberries makes jam and jam means no more fruitless-winter blues. Even better is jamming with those who love jam, love fruit, and love the community.

This past Sunday, the Third Annual Publilc Fruit Jam celebrated all this and more with a bang. Neighbors from every corner of Los Angeles managed to find space in the Machine Project Gallery. Members of the Fallen Fruit Collective, a local art-activist group, brought along found fruits, sugar and pectin and the Jam was on. Jammers filled the space, cutting up fruit, veggies and herbs. Several bunsen burners slowly brought fruit to a boil, as participants stirred in sugar and pectin. Many followed the directions provided, groups gave advice and help to each other, and still others managed to figure out their jam decisions alone.

Fruit and jam was traded amongst the crowd, nectarines for strawberries, lemon-fig-lavender jam for yellow peach-zucchini. Some of the fruit came from the nearby Vons, others brought farmers market wares, and some found their fruit, like kumquats from a tree in front of a participants office. Stone fruit and berries filled the tables, and cactus, green tomatoes, tomatillos, and sapotes found their way into jams as well.

Organizers checked in on the jam process, making suggestions, and asking for a donation of one jar from each group. Hundreds of mason jars quickly filled up with the sticky liquids, and many enjoyed their jam right away, toasting bread and having a snack at the event. Although the heat was high, the fruit sticky, and the room crowded, everyone made jam with a smile, helping each other out, and enjoying the fruits of the labor.

Jam this tasty can’t last long. Strawberry-plum-fig jam spread atop sweet toasted challah makes the perfect breakfast or night time snack. Here’s to more hot summer days of jamming for a fruit filled winter.

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