I am into memory keeping. Apart from fitful diary writing, I also take a lot of pictures and even occasionally organize them into photo books. This year I started the biggest memory-keeping project to date – a Project Life album. Project Life, if you don’t know it yet, is a solution to all your memory keeping problems. Designed by Becky Higgins, it allows you to combine photos and journaling in a beautiful, simple, clean and modern album. All you need is an album, set of journaling cards (I am using the Kraft edition), photo pocket pages and your photos.
Although you can use the system in different ways, I decided to document the whole year, every spread representing one week in our lives. I am proud to say that 32 weeks into the year I am still completely up to date. I love that by documenting the whole year, instead of just concentrating on special occasions (as usually happens with photos), I record our everyday life, too. There are pictures of the books the kids read, my husband’s favourite coffee maker, the mess on my desk, the laundry hanging outside. And there are lots of pictures of the garden, of course.
And even though most of the things I picture are quite ordinary, together they make up a unique story. A friend who recently looked through the album, exclaimed: “What a beautiful life you have! “
I don’t think her life is any less beautiful, but the act of recording helps you realize just how much beauty and happiness lies in the everyday.
I am such a fan of Project Life that I already converted several others, including both my daughter and my mother. During the summer holidays, we even had a three generation “project life” session. Jam making is also a form of memory keeping. This jam, every time we open a jar, will take us back to the hot summer of 2013, to the summer house of my parents. The red currants came from the garden, the cherries from a tree in the neighbourhood. The jam is a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Both sour cherries and red currants make a good jam, but combined they are extraordinary. It is the ultimate jam to use on crepes or in a Linzer torte ( I hope to post a recipe in the future). The high pectin content of the currants makes it possible to use less sugar so that you can really taste the fruit and still get a jam that sets well.
Posting the recipe here, I want to record how exactly I made it. Because I have made it before, but never wrote anything down, so I end up reinventing the wheel, every year again. How much of the currants? How much sugar is enough for the jam to set?
Now I’ll remember.
Sour cherry and redcurrant jam
1 kg sour cherries
500 g red currant, stripped from the stalks
500 g sugar
First make sure your jars are absolutely clean – I boiled them for 10 minutes to sterilize them.
Put the cherries (no need to pit them) in a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Add a little water to keep the cherries from burning and bring to the boil. Simmer until the cherries release their juices and start falling apart. Pour through a fine sieve, pushing with a wooden spoon, to get all the juices and some of the pulp. The resulting weight should be around 500 g. Put the cherry juices back in the pan and add the red currants. Bring to the boil, than add sugar and stir to dissolve it. Boil rapidly until the jam reaches setting point. This you can test by putting a teaspoonful of the jam on a cold saucer (I keep it in the fridge) and leaving it to cool. If the jam wrinkles when you push it with your finger, it’s ready. In my case the jam took about half an hour to reach the setting point. Remove any scum that has formed.
Carefully pour the jam into the jars, close them and turn the jars upside down for ten minutes. The jam should keep for at least a year. Once open, store in the fridge.