Jellies, jams, and preserves! Oh my!

Abby Newburger, left, and Sam Koralnik, right, host Jewish Jams, Jellies, and Preserves at Moishe House Northern Virginia. Photo by Jacqueline Hyman.

Jelly. Jam. Preserves. What’s the difference?

Think of jelly as liquid, jam as a mash, and preserves as a solid, said Abby Newburger.

Preserves also take longer to create, she told a group that came to Moishe House Northern Virginia on July 15 to make preserves. Up to a month, she said.

Sam Koralnik who, like Newburger, lives at Moishe House, imagined opening his jar of preserves in a few weeks and thinking, “Wow, I remember that good time I had making preserves.”

They started with lemon preserves. Newburger showed everyone how to cut the lemons into quarters like a flower, cover the sides in kosher salt, and press two lemons into a mason jar until they are covered with lemon juice.

The yellow jar will require some follow-up for the next month, as Newburger explains:

The group laughed as Max Auerbach tasted the salty lemon juice. “That’s disgusting,” he exclaimed, and recommended that nobody try the “preserves” until they were properly preserved.

Next, they split into two groups – with Newburger leading the strawberry jam group and Koralnik leading the grape jelly group.

Both groups mashed their respective fruits, boiled them and added sugar and pectin. But as jelly only uses the juice of a fruit, the grape group strained and squeezed the juice out of the boiled fruit.

The grape group made a gaffe — adding the pectin before they boiled the grapes.

“I actually think that while we made a mistake, we were able to regather ourselves and then just make our best effort, and I think it actually turned out pretty good,” said Koralnik.

As the strawberry jam and grape jelly boiled, the groups gathered around to catch a whiff of the fruity aromas rising from the pots. Below, watch a video following the strawberry jam group’s process:

Ari Goldstein said he is a regular Moishe House event attendee.

“It adds more depth to the week, and also it adds more value, simply because you’re hanging out with people you have a connection with,” he said, “either through a passion for cooking or Judaism, or something of that same category.”

He said he was excited to try the strawberry jam, because he loves strawberries and “lemons are not entirely my thing.”

Auerbach is also a fan of Moishe House people. “They’re very friendly. They’re open to meeting new people. I haven’t seen them turn anybody away or be less than 100 percent genuine or nice. It’s just very warm here.”

Newberger said her “Millennial Kosher” cookbook inspired her to turn its lemon preserves recipe into an event. She added the jams and jelly because “I think things in threes sound fun.” She added that creating a physical takeaway is fun.

Newberger said, “When you do something like this and you’re seeing the entire process from start to finish, it’s really cool to see the end product of what you came from and what you end up with.”

She’ll know in a month.

From left to right: strawberry jam and grape jelly, ready to eat immediately, and lemon preserves, which will be ready in a month. Photo by Jacqueline Hyman.
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