We have been up to quite a bit of preserving…. which has led us to a recent dilemma: We have no freezer storage space, but still have some choice vegetables and nectarines and maybe raspberries to freeze to finish off our peak season preserving for winter. So, our solution: To take some of those 25 or so pounds of blueberries and blackberries that we have frozen down, and make canned preserves. We like jam, and we will certainly eat it during the winter- thus a viable option for preservation of these amazing fruits. So, this weekend, we did some major canning.
How much did we preserve? Oh, a lot.
To start out- blueberry jam. Very simple. Our general berry jam recipe is as follows:
- 12 cups of mashed berry
- 3/4 cup of lemon juice
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tbsp calcium water (for pomona pectin)
- 2 tbsp pomona pectin
- Sterilize jar and lids (we usually just put our jars in the dishwasher and set to sterilize, and pour boiling water over the lids and rims)
- Mash and begin cooking berries.
- Measure appropriately.
- Add lemon juice to berries.
- Add calcium water to berries.
- Mix pomona’s pectin with sugar (both powders).
- Bring berries to a boil.
- Add the pectin sugar mixture slowly while stirring.
- Cook berries at a high boil for a few minutes.
- Ladle hot berry jam into jars and secure lids on tightly.
- Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
- Set out on thick towels to cool.
- Wait for the ‘ting’ that means the cans have sealed.
- All set for jam love!
Next, Theresa mixed strawberries, blackberries and blueberries in a roughly 1:1:1 ratio and jammed them using the same general jam recipe. I will say…. the final jam tasted AMAZING! It was initially very strawberry then a strong tart from the blackberries, then a mellow blueberry aftertaste. It was so good, we named it. Black and Blue Strawberry Jam. Nice, right?
Then onto Blackberry Jam, same recipe as before, just blackberries. Berry tasty as well.
Then onto husk cherries. We had ordered two whole flats of husk cherries- and also PYO at the farm. So we decided to jam all the bulk ordered husk cherries and keep the PYO for our present consumption. So, for making jam, we had to first husk all those cherries…..
We then jammed the husk cherries using the same jam recipe, but instead added 1 and 1/2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup of lemon juice. It gave them a very fresh almost limey flavor.
Finally, Theresa decided to try making Watermelon Jelly.
She cut up a yellow peace watermelon and mashed it with a potato masher, then ran it through a food mill to remove the seeds. Then she strained it with cheese cloth. After that, she followed a recipe that is similar to the berry recipe, but instead of lemon juice uses apple cider vinegar to give it a nice pickle like zing.
It tasted really good- perhaps Theresa can post exactly what the recipe was. Very unique, and something to look forward to.
I will have to begin storing our cans of goodies elsewhere soon. To give you an idea of how out of hand this is (or perhaps how much I love jam) an inventory of our present canned goods:
- 8 pint jars of pickled beets
- 6 half pint jars of strawberry rhubarb jam
- 3 quart jars of cucumber pickles
- 6 quart jars of green bean pickles
- 11 half pint jars of raspberry jam
- 7 half pint jars of raspberry currant jam
- 6 half pint jars of our version of currant bar-le-duc
- 14 pint jars of blueberry jam
- 17 half pint jars of black and blue strawberry jam
- 4 pint jars and 6 half pint jars of blackberry jam
- 3 pint jars and 5 half pint jars of husk cherry jam
- 5 half pint jars of watermelon jelly
And that’s not the end of it! I plan to make relish, plum jam, nectarine preserves, pickled fennel, and a ton of canned tomatoes (I might bulk order some tomatoes today…..). This is definitely one aspect of locavorism- preserving items at peak season with exceptional mania- that can be a little daunting, especially if you are worried about having enough food for the winter in New England (like me).
Overall, I’ve been enjoying it- though I will admit it has been stressful- perhaps even more for Theresa than me. I just want to horde food- and all that food can become overwhelming. I think this might have caused Theresa to have the disturbing produce dream she had commented on a few posts back. If it’s any reflection of our present food mania- I had a produce dream that night too. However, instead of forests of produce, I had a dream that we had filled our kitchen with produce up to the ceiling. Then, in the night, raccoons climbed up our building, opened our porch screen door, scampered into our kitchen and began to eat our produce. I was totally freaked out, but my dreaming self was sleeping too, all while our produce was devoured by little ring tailed monsters. Wow…. perhaps peak season *does* do something to you…..