Summer is Upon Us!

It’s finally summer and all of the fresh vegetables and fruits are coming to market – which means it’s canning season!  I’ve never been much of a canner because it seemed awful time consuming when we live in a time when you can run to the grocery and get any fruit or vegetable in any season shipped directly from who-the-heck-knows-where in South America.

But all that said, there’s nothing like fresh veggies and fruits that are actually IN SEASON and taste like it – in the dead of winter.  So, here goes my first attempt at canning.

Okay, so, I’m lying, I haven’t started canning, per se, yet.  But I have started making small batch jam – and it’s fantastic.  I call it, Everything But the Kitchen Sink Jam, and it’s exactly what it sounds like.

I joined a CSA this year (if you don’t know what a CSA is, here is a nifty article that explains how it works and how to join one near you) and so far it’s been great.  Except I end up with a lot of odds and ends of vegetables and fruit that I’m not sure what to do with.  What does one do with 15 cherries, half a pint of blueberries, and 3/4 of a cup of red currants?

One solution is to bake small batches of muffins or scones, which are great, except now my freezer is PACKED, no – actually almost EXPLODING – with baked goods that will take me months to go through.  So, when I looked in my fridge and saw that I had some more odds and ends of fresh fruit, I decided to make jam.  And it was fantastic.

For some reason people tend to think that jam making is super scientific and difficult to do, but as it turns out it’s as simple as one-two-three.

1.  Wash all fruit and break down into small pieces

2.  Add fruit, sugar, and a little pectin to a non-reactive pot

3.  Cook until thick and the temperature reaches 220 degree Fahrenheit.

And then you pour it into sterilized jars (all the way to the top), close, and let cool.  That’s it.  Really.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Cherry Jam

Ingredients:

4 cups chopped Strawberries

3 cups pitted and sliced Cherries

2 stalks chopped Rhubarb

3 cups sugar

3TB pectin

Instructions:

1.  Combine all fruit in a non-reactive pot and cook down slowly.  Bring up the heat as the fruit softens and the liquid releases.

2.  Add the pectin sprinkling it over the top, stirring quickly.

3.  Add all sugar and continue stirring.

4.  Cook until it reaches 220 degrees

5.  Pour into sterilized jar (8oz) and seal.

6.  At this point, you can process the jar in boiling water, or simply allow the jar to cool and store in the fridge.  As it’s only one jar, and it’s SO amazing, and the sugar content is so high, it will be used quickly enough it won’t spoil.

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