Partridgeberry Jamming

Vaccinium vitis-idaea!! 

No, it's not a spell you'll learn at Hogwarts but it is something that I think is pretty magical. It’s the partridgeberry (aka lingonberry or cowberry) — a beautiful tart, bright red fruit that grows right on the ground. The magic doesn’t end with the taste and colour, partridgeberries are pretty amazing from a health/antioxidant standpoint. They give you plenty of manganese (a component of antioxidant enzymes), supply vitamin E and C (both of which also function as antioxidants), and their red colour comes from anthocyanins, which is thought to have antioxidant benefits. (Read more here.)

Partridgeberries are used in puddings, quick breads and cakes but I think they really shine in jam.1 And partridgeberry jam is my absolute favourite filling for homemade jam-jam cookies.

Here's a quick recipe for a small batch of jam (stay tuned for my grandmother’s jam-jam recipe in an upcoming post).

Partridgeberry Jam
2 cups of partridgeberries
1 1/2 cups of apple, chopped
1 cup of sugar.

 Simmer all ingredients in a small saucepan until reduced and thick.

Stir frequently to keep from in sticking.

These fruits naturally contain pectin which will activate, and thicken the jam, at about 210F

Remove from heat, let cool. Store in the refrigerator2.

Sadly, I understand that partridgeberries are scarce this year.  One more piece of less-than-good news, in a year of less-than-good news (2020 can take a break anytime now)

In a pinch, I sometimes use cranberries instead. They are similar but not the same.

1. I have very happy childhood memories of eating fresh, homemade bread topped with partridgeberry jam and canned Fussel’s-brand cream. Sigh. So good.

2. Assuming you didn't eat it all, by the spoonful, directly from the saucepan.  It happens.  It's okay.  Life is short and infinitely better with a partridgeberry jam stained face.


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