“Mistakes are exciting!” This I learned from Joel Salatin in his famous and funny You Can Farm. Mistakes show you what doesn’t work or gives you a new answer to a different problem. I tried explaining the idea to Spaghetti as he fought through Algebra homework, but he wasn’t convinced. I was on the fence too. In my earnest effort to capture the Meyer lemon season in jam, I’ve had 3 failed batches. Exciting. There’s not a whole lot fresh and local for our product line this time of year so I thought a Honey Meyer Lemon Jam would be awesome. But it’s not jam. It’s … sauce?
Pectin (jam’s gooey thickener) is a finicky thing – especially with a lot of citric acid in the mix… hello lemons! There is a fine line between liquid and congealed gelatin. I can nail small batches but it doesn’t scale well. 1-2 jars doesn’t stock the store shelves. And since it’s not fitting with our style to just pile in the sugar to thicken things up, Meyer Lemon Jam may just have to wait.
Exciting mistake? Well, yes. While the result doesn’t pass muster for the store shelves as jam, it’s a fine condiment in its own right. It has been the perfect sweetener in my nightly hot tea and a great mix-in to roasted root veggies. (Parsnips with honey & lemon? Yes!). My lemony “mistake” will also be a great shortcut for summer lemonade. So maybe it does have a future. (If you want a darn good cup of tea in the meantime, drop by for a visit.)
In the first year of anything (farming or even algebra) there are lots of mistakes in store. I accept that. My goal is to make lots of mistakes (that means you’re trying!) but not make the same one repeatedly. As the Meyer lemon season wanes, I have my sights set on a bunch of new farm
mistakes projects. In any event, I’m taking life’s lemons and making, well you know, excitement.