- Series: Blue Chair Jam (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing; First Edition edition (September 21, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0740791435
- ISBN-13: 978-0740791437
- Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 1.7 x 10.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 139 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook Hardcover – September 21, 2010
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""The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook" is the end result of 10 years of research and includes nearly 120 recipes - everything from marmalade to conserve. The best part - besides this hardcover book looking good enough to eat - is that Saunders organizes her recipes according to the season. "Blue Chair" could well become the jam maker's quintessential reference book." --SFGate.com, September 26, 2010
"[The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook] is a complete and exquisite guide to making jam and marmalade at home. In addition to sharing 100+ recipes, Saunders walks you step-by-step through the process with in-depth explanations as well as photos of the various steps so you see exactly what each phase looks like." --Epicurious, September 23, 2010
"Rachel Saunders, author of The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, is quite possibly the high priestess of jam making. Her book - a comprehensive, year-round guide to jellies, jams, conserves, preserves, and marmalades - belongs in the kitchen of anyone interested in keeping their pantry stocked with delicious and unique fruit preserves. And Rachel's instructions are so thorough and clear, even beginners are assured success." --The Splendid Table's "Weeknight Kitchen" newsletter
About the Author
Rachel Saunders is the owner and founder of Blue Chair Fruit Company and the author of the James Beard Award-nominated Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, which is widely regarded as the definitive modern work on preserving. A much sought-after teacher and jam and marmalade expert, Rachel offers classes regularly both in the U.S. and abroad and also offers a stream-able online class, Jam & Marmalade the Blue Chair Way. A native of New York State, Rachel studied France and the French language at Smith College and La Sorbonne Paris IV, receiving her degree from Smith at age 20. She lives with her husband in Oakland, CA.
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I was initially put off by all the full-page photographs of the author looking fey in her jammy wonderland--Rachel with vintage accessories, Rachel wandering through a misty orchard, Rachel caressing airbrushed fruit--I would have preferred, say, a photograph detailing how to skin a green almond. It's a gorgeous book and I wondered if its target audience was the folks who like to lie in bed and look at the pictures in cookbooks, but actually eat takeout much of the time.
My first recipe (strawberry-Meyer lemon marmalade) was a qualified success. The recipe specified covering lemon slices in a "medium" saucepan with one inch of water, but I think I used too large a pan, and ended up with too much water to cook off. I also couldn't get the hang of Rachel's method of testing when the jam is done, which involves putting a specific number of spoons in the freezer, and checking the texture of the jam as it sets up on a cold spoon. I omitted the rose geranium cuttings (there's a limit to the produce I can come up, even in the Bay Area). It was a very good marmalade, but a little tight in texture, as I'd overcooked it a bit.
For my second recipe (strawberry-kiwi jam), I went back to my tried-and-true method of testing the jam on a saucer in the fridge. Rachel's description of when the jam is done was spot-on. The jam was so delicious, I found myself repeatedly going to the fridge to eat a spoonful.
I've made kiwi marmalade before, but it was nothing like this. And I've made fig jam, but it was nothing like Rachel's. Now I've got the recipes for success. And now that I'm convinced Rachel's a goddess, I'm no longer irritated by the cookbook's adulatory images. In fact, I might frame one and put it up on my kitchen wall.
Are her produce lists esoteric? Yes, indeed. And she doesn't hesitate to call for esoteric and expensive liquors, as well: does your local liquor store even carry St. Germain elderflower liqueur, and would you be wiling to fork over $30 for a bottle to perfect your White Nectarine Jam with Elderflower and Green Almonds? There are ingredients in the book I've never even heard of, despite living in an affluent, food-obsessed area (what IS "pine cone bud syrup," anyway?) You can certainly adapt her methods to whatever produce is available in your area, and your jams will be infinitely superior to the pectin-stiffened ones in the Cooperative Extension recipe pamphlets, but you might still find the preciousness of some of the book overall to be off-putting.