Welcome to January, the not-so-gentle reminder that the warmth of the holidays is behind us and most of winter’s snow has yet to fall. When the fields have frozen over, bakers and chefs alike begin to dig deep into their pantries and freezers to gather stockpiled ingredients. Faced with an over abundance of fresh fruit and garden vegetables during the summer harvests, and imports far past their prime on the grocery shelves come midwinter, learning how to preserve food becomes an important and rewarding task. And while traditional canning is the preferred method, freezer jams offer a slightly less complicated alternative for small scale storage.
In this approach, the cooked preserves are cooled to room temperature and then immediately stored in the freezer, where they will last the winter, or kept for up to one month in the refrigerator. The best part is that there are few, if any, strict rules for freezer jams. All you need is a lot of fruit and at least some sugar.
Once you have made your custom condiment, it can be put to many uses. Spread it on toast, sandwich it between two cookies, or use in a recipe that calls for a similar jam. We took the opportunity to make a variation of the Linzer Torte, a traditional Austrian dessert composed of a thick, crumbly almond pastry filled with a layer of raspberry or apricot preserves. Its robust, nutty flavour just might have you saying Auf Wiedersehen to raspberry pie forever.