Monday, May 28, 2012

First Canning of the Season

Nothing too major, just a small batch of strawberry jam from the gorgeous strawberries we found this weekend at the farmer's market. We were visiting my parents in Virginia, where the growing season is a little further along, so the berries were just right.

Those that were blemish free were mixed with sugar and left in the fridge a few hours to release the juices. The bruised ones weren't wasted though. They went into the strawberry sauce pot. A jar of strawberry sauce is now at the ready in the fridge. I poured it on my granola with yogurt this morning, and it was glorious.

For those who want to try jam making without a ton of sugar, I'd suggest trying Pomona's Universal Pectin instead of regular pectin. It's activated by calcium powder instead of sugar, so you don't need to add so much. It's a little more expensive than the other stuff, but it makes a lot of jam (I'm still on my box from last year and I canned 12 jars worth) and lasts forever. This small batch filled three half pint jars, which is pretty exciting. That's probably all the straight strawberry jam i'll put up this year. If there are gorgeous berries I can't resist at the market, i'll either make strawberry vanilla jam next, or half and freeze them for smoothies all year long.

Other scores from the farmer's market in VA included english peas, which I'll use to make cheesy pasta tomorrow, radishes, which I'm going to use for refrigerator pickles, spicy onions, southern sweet potatoes, mint, and a fruiting blueberry bush I got for 20 bucks. More on that later.

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