Baked Summer Ratatouille
One of the first local recipes we made for the Oregon Food Bank's Eat Local Challenge!
You know it’s hot outside when we are excited to go back to work for the air conditioning. Yuck! The temperature is supposed to go steadily back to our happy mid-80s this week – something I am so thankful for!
It’s only like, 80 something outside right now. It will probably be a bit easier to catch some sleep tonight – we have an entire setup to deal with the heat. First of all, we sleep in the guest room, which is downstairs and approximately 10 degrees cooler than our attic bedroom when it gets this hot. Second, we’ll have the ceiling fan and our oscillating column fan going full blast. And third, it actually does cool down somewhat at night. So the windows are open all over the house, because it is cooler outside than it is inside right now.
Growing up in Kansas, then spending time in Missouri, Arizona and Colorado, I would have told you that people were plain crazy to not have air conditioning. Well, not that many people have it out here on the west coast (in their homes, anyway). That’s especially if you live in one of the beautiful old places the region has to offer (our house is about 90 years old). We really only would need AC for a week or two during the summer. So it makes sense to just deal with it for a few days. Steady as she goes! In the meantime, I will make jam.
This is based on the Fast Blueberry Jam recipe from Mark Bittman’s column, The Minimalist, a.k.a. the best food column in history. Watch the video! His are so fun.
And, as someone points out in the comments, this is technically a conserve, not a jam. Jams have added pectin. The more you know!
Here’s what you need to make a pint + change of jam:
Wash the blueberries thoroughly and pick them over for stray stems and wilted berries. Then, pour them into a saucepan and turn onto medium-high heat.
Allow the berries to heat up for a few minutes, and then add the sugar and stir with a spoon that you are not worried about staining – also, be really careful with this stuff. It will be dark, dark purple and super stainy.
Bring to a boil on high, and then reduce the heat to medium high. Simmer for 25-30 minutes. This will get most of the water out, but since you aren’t using pectin/cornstarch/whatever it won’t do a whole lot of thickening until it’s off the heat. After 30 minutes, remove it from the heat and allow to cool completely. Transfer to a glass container with a lid. This jam will keep in the fridge for the amount of time it takes to finish a pint of jam