Four Red Fruit Jam
During the brief time Baron Fel was a member of Rogue Squadron, they were quite busy. They would return from missions, fall into their bunks to sleep for a few hours, stagger to the mess hall for an inhaled -- and often dull -- breakfast, and go off on yet another mission. And that's if they were lucky! If they were unlucky, they slept in their ships ...
Something Fel's mother had taught him -- along with her love of gardening and cooking, was that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. He knew it was true: his reaction times were better when he had a proper breakfast, but they were even better when he had a GOOD breakfast. Alas, due to lack of time and resources, breakfast was often cardboard-like foodboard, washed down with sour, scalding hot caf.
Even though he was tired, Fel was troubled by his personal demons -- his recent desertion, his missing wife, his uncertain future -- and often could not sleep. When it got to be too much, he'd head to the mess for caf. Hungry, he'd poke around the deserted kitchen; one morning, there had been deliveries of soft, ripe, brilliantly red-colored fruit. He looked to make sure no one else was there and grabbed some for out-of-hand munching. Savoring the flavor and juiciness, he thought it a shame that the cooks would likely let the fruit rot rather than do it justice.
Before his sleep-deprived mind had time to think, he was performing a recipe he'd followed many times in his youth, when helping his mother preserve a crop of fruit. He tasted the hot jam and smiled, enjoying the memories when he and his life were more innocent, and he found some peace in himself for the moment. At last, he was able to sleep a few hours, and he left the lidded pot on the stove to cool.
The kitchen staff noted the delicious smells wafting through the kitchen and traced it to the closed pot. Opening it, they were assalted with a bright red, sweet concoction, perfect for toast, cake filling, or even a meat relish or glaze! But before it could make it that far they couldn't restrain themselves from dipping spoons into the pot to sample. There was a mild riot when the breakfasting pilots were served the jam, and it ran out! Fel woke up to frantic knocking on his door. When he opened it, the cooks nearly assaulted him, and he had to recite the recipe quickly, or he'd get fricaseed or worse!
Bring the fruit mixture to a boil over high heat stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil for 15 minutes. Take the mixture off the heat and stir the liquid pectin in, then return to the stove and cook for about 1 more minute. Pour the jam into prepared sterilized jars, clean the rims of the jars to ensure a good seal, and put the lids on securely.
Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the water bath and allow to cool.
Makes approximately 6 cups.
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