I seriously have the bug. And “We be jammin'” is my new theme song. Or at least the part of the song that keeps running through my head and won’t come out.
My first ever jam (I’m still ridiculously pleased with myself) was strawberry rhubarb made with Certo Light so I could use less sugar than a typical recipe calls for. Call me crazy but I prefer to taste the fruit, not just the sugar. That batch was still quite sweet, so clearly I’d have to try again.
After the first batch of jam I used some of the rhubarb I’d gathered from a neighbours yard to make a rhubarb concentrate (a.k.a. a rhubarb ribena, ergo christened rhubina). Don’t worry, I asked the neighbour first, about taking the rhubarb. Turns out she and her husband hate rhubarb so she told me to take as much as I wanted. Oh yeah, baby! Continue reading →
I’ve been writing a lot about diary cows and animal welfare lately, but what I’ve actually been DOING is making sure to do my part when it comes to eating local. I have the good fortune to live in an area with lots of agriculture and food production, especially during the summer. That means great finds at the local farmers markets and some of the nearby farms.
Yesterday I went and picked the last of the first round of strawberries from one of two local u-pick farms that are both within a 5 minute drive of my house. Oh yeah, baby!
Driediger Farms is a local institution and offers all manner of u-pick berries throughout the summer season. If you’d rather skip the back-breaking task of picking them yourself, you can of course pick them up from the farm market instead. (I wanted to get the full experience, and yes, it was a little hard on the back.)
The next variety of strawberries will be ready in a couple of weeks, so I’ll need to make these berries last. Which of course means…more jam! I may also go back in a few weeks and get some raspberries, my all-time favourite berry. EVER. (Better than candy fresh, also delightful as a raspberry liqueur. Mmmm.)
After my recent success with homemade strawberry rhubarb jam, I started eyeing mangos at the local independent grocer with a whole new level of interest. Hmmm, I’d like to try me some strawberry mango jam…
I typically don’t eat a lot of jam, mostly because when I do I often find it too sweet, usually to the point where the sugar overwhelms any taste of the actual fruit. Such a waste. I prefer less sugar in my diet and want to make jam in a way that most enhances the fruit’s flavour. But making jam is truly a scientific endeavour, where the chemical reaction of the ingredients completely influences the finished product, so adjusting the amount of sugar in regular recipes simply does not work.
In my quest for low sugar jam options, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way about the natural chemistry behind homemade preserves. Continue reading →