KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: June Taylor Jams: Classes at The Still-Room
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Sunday, August 13, 2006
June Taylor Jams: Classes at The Still-Room


If you have not already jumped on the bandwagon that is the June Taylor conserving class train, may I suggest that you sign up for one of her end of summer classes today? She has recently added three more days: Sunday August 27, Saturday September 23 and Sunday September 24. Get the details by clicking on this link.

Four hours in total, June's classes offer a wealth of information long learned by the intuitive jam maker herself. She asks her students to come with a chef's knife, an apron and a notebook. After a few minutes of introduction to The Still-Room, her immaculate sky lit kitchen, she sets the students to work creating the conserve they will take home at the end of the class.


The Still-Room is home to quiet still lifes of rocks and leaves.

There's nothing like taking a class from a person who is an expert in their field. Suffice to say not every expert is a good teacher, but June is both a patient instructor and a magnificent example of her craft in the modern world. Still "cooking off" in small batches, June relies on the fruit to tell her what the sugar content should be. The "recipe" she gives is about as exact as a suggestion. Because the concept of a recipe being no more than a guide is often lost in the age of cookbooks, cooking shows and the myriad of appliances people are filling their kitchens with, the conserve class gives you the unforgettable opportunity of standing in the commercial kitchen of the business woman herself.





Ever wondered why June Taylor's conserves, fruit cheeses and marmalades taste more like the fruit than the fruits often taste of themselves? June will show you these finesses. Ever wondered why a small jar costs more than you have ever spent on toast-schmears? Go to the class, take part in the prep, walk away with your jar, and look at the thousands of pounds of seasonal fruit stacked nearby. No only can I practically guarantee that you will never challenge the cost of her jars again, but you will happily pay it.

No one I have ever seen or met is conserving fruit (for commercial sale) the way June Taylor is.


The very small batches of fruit to be cooked-off.

The fruit is lucky to have her. And we are immeasurably privileged to be able to taste every single one of her illustrious creations throughout the year as tastes are freely given at her booth in the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market on Saturdays. I always say June Taylor is located next to the preserves' best friends: cheese and bread.


"Home-made" pectin on June's hand for naturally setting her marmalades.

For years people have been begging June to teach. Although I worked with her in the beginning years of her business, I have found the classes to be delightful and inspiring. I've appreciated that there is more than enough room for all of the students to have a cutting board and really get into the rhythm of the fruit prep. Everyone stirs the pots, watches the mixtures change with heat, discuss the endless possibilities of ratios and flavor compositions, and gets to know why each other is taking the class. We are all encouraged to taste, smell, touch and listen, all very important elements in cooking and baking which have been lost in some of the more "corporative" cooking school classes or vague instructions in mass produced cookbooks.

Some students have been preserving fruit for years and want to experience a different approach. Some have never taken a class; others fly in from faraway cities when they've learned of her classes. Many took the marmalade class and wanted to see what summer fruit would be all about.


June's jars are hand-filled, right to the top!

I can't say enough about these classes. June is literally preserving a preserving tradition that may very well become extinct in the modern industrial age if more people do not possess the skills to put-up their own fruits and vegetables. How far we've come from tins of strawberry jam to fend off scurvy, to rosemary scented Meyer lemon marmalade and barely set apricot conserves, or the jar of secret Damson plum jam we're loathe to share, even with loved ones.

Don't delay; take a class from June today!
 
 

1 Comments:

Blogger Italian Wine Guy┬« said...

Outstanding!
I'm a total junkie over her jams!
worth a trip over the mountains for this one, thanks

Alfonso Cevola
On the Wine Trail in Italy
http://acevola.blogspot.com/

8/21/2006 3:00 PM

 

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