entertainingFood & Drinkhunt gather hostHunt Gather Host

hunt, gather and host: quick jams and preserves party

by The BBB Craft Sisters

For the last few craft parties we have hosted, we’ve become veterans of knitting and egg-decorating projects. Our latest crafty afternoon was inspired by a friend’s fig tree that we stumbled upon at a backyard soirée a few months ago in Los Angeles. Taking Paul Smith’s advice, we found “inspiration in everything,” and the idea for our next party was born. The remainder of the day was spent planning and getting excited about an afternoon of making fig preserves, compotes and jams. While we waited for our figs to ripen, we researched bottles, read up on canning and picked our recipes. Though figs may have come and gone by the time you’re reading this, we hope it inspires you to use whatever is in season where you live. — bbbcraft sisters

The full party details and instructions continue after the jump . . .

We began by picking more than 200 figs from the tree and carefully washing them. We had ordered a variety of bottles online, and we pulled together every variety of tool or supply we owned to adorn the final product: stamps, hole punches, fabric, stickers and ribbon. We used figs for place settings, and we asked our guests to contribute some crafting supplies (and wine!) so that there would be a wide variety of materials to decorate the bottles with once the jams and compotes were complete.

We assigned jobs to everyone and began with a simple fig jam that we also served to our guests on a cheese plate. We put together a couple yummy fig-centric snacks and moved on to our compote and spiced preserves.

Some guests stayed in the kitchen chopping and cooking; others sat at the table and started to create custom-made stamps and labels for the jars.

Because we had so many people who would each take home a few jars of jam, we decided not to preserve traditionally for long-term storage. We simply spooned the jam into the jars and put a two-month expiration date on each (as instructed by our recipes). Many guests had parties to attend the following week and thought this was the perfect hostess gift. If you are making jars for yourself to keep throughout the year, it is better to seal the jars using the traditional preserving method (there is a very good book written on this topic by Design*Sponge’s own Ashley English).

After the jars were set outside to cool, we sat at the table for more snacks, wine and a lot of discussion over jam labels about creative ways to mark the expiration dates and dress up the jars.

Photographs by Amy Blessing. Food by bbbcraft and Après Fête. Styling and crafting by bbbcraft.

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