It all began innocently. One day I was making my usual favorite afternoon tea—, with toast and jam. Not exotic; I like things plain and simple. I smoothed the jam—in this case –thick on my toast, and then found myself looking thoughtfully down into the jam jar, while I remembered reading of the idea to stir jam right into the tea as a sweetener. The Russian way with tea, it is said, is a thick, stand-up brew served with jam that is either stirred into the cup, or, simply, eaten by the teaspoonful between sips of tea.
My spoon hovered over the jar of marmalade, while I looked at my cup of tea with one eye. I did hate to risk a perfectly good cup of tea, which I drink plain black, no bothering with sugar or cream. Then I did it, a big, thick teaspoonful of marmalade right into my beautiful, simple Darjeeling. Well, what do you know, the marmalade disappeared as I stirred.
It smelled divine of sweet oranges, and tasted even better! It was a subtle flavor, still Darjeeling, with its sort of muscatel taste, but now a whisper of sweet orange. For my next cup of tea, I boldly heaped the teaspoon with the jam and stirred it in. I was hooked.
I’ve gone on to experiment with other jams. I like orange marmalade with Darjeeling the best, in fact, find orange marmalade suitable to all black tea I’ve tried, brewed mild or strong. Black raspberry jam is another favorite. I find it and blackberry jams best suited to Ceylon, English Breakfast, Yorkshire Gold, and Devonshire Tea. Peach and apricot jams are lovely in stronger brews, as well, but I do not scoop the jam teaspoon quite so heavily with them. I have not tried the simplest, commonest of jams—strawberry, and frankly, the thought of those little strawberry seeds floating around in the tea hold me off.
It has become a sort of fascination for me now, mixing and matching teas and jams. The other day while grocery shopping, my husband’s eyes opened wide as he saw me putting quite a number of jams into the cart. I’m also now eyeing not-so-plain jams, such as loganberry. Would there be seeds?
It is, of course, as is everything, all a matter of one’s taste, but certainly nothing could be more plain and simple. Reach into the refrigerator and pull out a jar of your favorite jam, and soon you can have a comforting cup of flavored tea, without any thought of additives possibly found in flavorings, provided, of course, you use plain jams made of nothing but fruit, fruit juice and/or sugar.
Experiment! And if you try the strawberry jam, let me know how it turns out.
When she’s not dumping spoonfuls of jam into her tea, CurtissAnn passes the time penning novels. Visit CurtissAnnMatlock.com to learn more.
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