August 25, 2010

Fruit in a Jar

I haven’t made jam in years due to our old house having a horrible and poorly set up kitchen. It was a rental so we went going to put any money into it to make it useable. It also had a small fridge and freezer, so making freezer jam was out; and that’s what I love to make. We bought our house at the end of last summer and it has a wonderful, big, user-friendly kitchen. It isn’t perfect, but it’s fine for me.

This year I want to go all out and make up for past years and store-bought jam. I grew up with homemade jam and so I’m quiet particular about the jam I buy. So far I’m enjoying the process of making jam, jelly, preserves, conserves, and whatever else you feel like calling it.

In May a friend and I went strawberry picking at Rochon farms in the east end of Ottawa. One of the women at their stall at the Parkdale Market gave me directions. I figured if their berries were good at the market, they must be just as good from the field; and they were. My friend and I enjoyed ourselves and we had four baskets in no time. So we picked one more. After dropping off our bounty we got cleaned up and reenergized over breakfast. Back at my place we set to work and made a ton of jam. Using the Certo recipes from the box we made a few batches of strawberry jam and a batch of strawberry banana. We had never seen it before and figured ‘Why not!’. At the end of it all we sat down ready to relax, and then we saw it; the fifth basket. Those ended up getting frozen as we were all jammed out. What an enjoyable day.

While my mom was up we got some rhubarb at the Lansdowne Market and made some rhubarb conserve. What a treat. It was much different than my rhubarb ginger jam.

Last week I had Wednesday off and had a whole list of things to do. One of them was to make some jam. I’m fond of raspberry jam and have never made it. My mother in law made some last year and complained of the cost. I think it’s worth it. I’ve picked up raspberries on many occasions this year and they always made it to my belly. My Five Roses cookbook has a section about making jam and jellies and it seemed simple enough: boil the raspberries with some sugar then pour it into jars. And it worked! I finally had success with something simple!!

My next job: red current jelly.

Rhubarb Conserve
2 lb rhubarb
2 oranges
1 lemon
3 ½ cups sugar
Grate rind of oranges and lemon, and then extract juice. Cut rhubarb into ½ inch pieces. Combine all the ingredients and het slowly until sugar dissolves. Simmer slowly, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick and clear.

Raspberry Jam (from Five Roses Cookbook)
Makes 3-4 (16oz) jars
9 cups raspberries, crushed
6 cups sugar
Combine the crushed raspberries with sugar and slowly bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly to jelling point. Pour into jars.
* Can use blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, gooseberries or loganberries.


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