Perfect wine pairing: 2016 Pinot noir Cuvée
Wine jams are simply amazing and I would even go as far as to say life changing. They are as elevated as you want them to be or as simple as you need them to be. From the delightfully elegant brie en croute to a grown-up pb & j, this is a versatile, do-it-all type of recipe. The Pinot noir in this recipe adds a delicious complexity to the jam, bringing out earthier notes and adding an undertone that is mellow but distinctly unique.
Here in Oregon, we are incredibly spoiled with the best seasonal produce. The Pacific Northwest’s agriculture-friendly climate means that berries abound. You are never more than a few miles from a berry stand or U-pick farm full of the most incredible selection of berries, stone fruit, melons…
Making homemade jam has long been a tradition in my family. I have so many memories of picking berries, then standing on our kitchen stool to reach high enough to stir the jam. As I grew older, my love for sunshine-filled days and fresh produce didn’t subside, but I did find myself with a hankering for a slightly more “grown up” version. Enter…Pinot noir!
The key to a wonderful jam is cooking it thoroughly – and there are several methods to determine if your jam has finished cooking. One option is waiting until the thermometer hits 220°F. For some people, including my younger sister, this method works wonderfully. I prefer using a more homegrown method of testing my jam which is detailed below if you want to give it a try! I enjoy it for a couple reasons – first, I feel more confident that I am going to get my exact desired consistency, second, I don’t run the risk of burning, scorching, or over setting my jam and third, it is a great opportunity to sneak in more taste testing. While this preference is entirely anecdotal, it hasn’t yet led me astray but whatever method easiest for you is what I recommend!
This jam will hold in the refrigerator for weeks and I always find plenty of excuses to use it. One of the easiest is to throw together a simple cheese board for guests- easy and such a fun way to brag about your culinary accomplishments! Another favorite is a warm topping for some vanilla ice cream, you’re so welcome. If you want to make more than what you can use in a few weeks, don’t be deceived – the canning process has a big bark but no bite! It is a snap to can your own jam, and everything you need should be readily available at your grocer. We have also found the best no fuss, no nonsense guide to perfect canning every time. Find it here!
We’re waiting for the mixture to reduce as the alcohol burns off, but also for pectin to release from the strawberries. This is what will naturally thicken the jam. The pectin releases when the bubbling slows and the jam gets darker and glossier and more viscous.
Testing for Setness:
While you wait, sip a glass of Pinot noir. Your hard work’s almost over!
Serve immediately atop a wedge of brie for a truly out-of-this-world experience. Enjoy with your glass of Pinot.
Place the jam into a refrigerator safe container to store, or fill jars to seal using a water bath. Remember, it takes pectin 24 to 48 hours to fully set!