I feel like I live in a Williams-Sonoma store.

It may help that my partner worked at Williams-Sonoma (affectionately referred to as “Willies” by a co-worker) and helped to setup their displays. It may also help that he has an eye for detail that, paired with a perfectionist attitude, helps to ensure everything in the kitchen is immaculately displayed and curated on the shining wire chrome shelves.

The most recent addition to these shelves are a set of preserves and jellies. This whole venture started off when my partner’s parents dropped off a bag of beautiful dark-purple plums that they had grown in their backyard. Our natural response was to make jam. 

This was the first venture into jam for either of us, and we found it surprisingly easy. A little boiling, some pectin and sugar, ladled into mason jars, processed, and we had six neat little jars full of a delicious plum jam. 

What next? Our minds turned towards the fresh fruit that was now showing up in the farmer’s market. Seasonal, locally grown, and perfect for making preserves. The next morning, my partner had a bag of apples, peaches, jalapenos, green zebra tomatoes. These, along with a box of figs we had purchased at Trader Joe’s, were boiled and mashed and stirred into sweet, sticky concoctions that will keep for months. 

Up onto the shelf they went, a colorful array of little jars, full of the tastes of summer. We will be sharing these with others in the form of gifts later on, but we will of course be eating these for months to come. It’s amazing that a few hours of work on a weekend can yield such a product – unlike the seemingly endless barrage of cooking for weekday meals that will need to be repeated once again the next night, we will enjoy the fruits of our labor for a long time to come. 


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