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On strawberry Jam
Category: Garden @ ECO | Posted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 4:10 am
today was a fun day! I processed 25 pounds of strawberries today. turning them into 17 pints , 2 half pints, and 1 quart jars. there were 18 pints, but one of them cracked in the water bath during processing. ( I have had that happen from time to time)
I got all my organic berries as "culls" the ugly ones the farmer picked out before packing them. he gave them to me after I ever so humbly asked him what he would do with the ugly ones.... and asked if there were any available.
and here we are.
I took a few photos of the process. I used pectin. I like the fact it cuts down the cooking time in half. I do see a value in not cooking the berries to death. they seem to taste better, and certainly the jam is not as dark.
here is my process, which is ever evolving. the last two times I made jam it came out syrupy. it was not thick enough for a Sandwich; which by the way is my real motivation for the Putting up of jam, my peanut butter sandwiches are so much better than when I use store bought jam. It is also quite good on oatmeal... but we cannot go on about its never ending usefulness..
recipe called for crushing the berries, to release some of the scant pectin in strawberries, I ran them through the blender lightly. chopped them a bit. It worked well and left me chunks of fruit.
It has been said.. do not rush the jam making process or double your recipe, it will adversely affect the setting of the jam. Easy solution, use two pots!!! if you can handle stirring two of them rapidly.
Looks like I got a good set this time! Follow the directions!! All components need to be in their prescribed proportions for a good "set".
look at all these jars!!! finished the day with 3 splatter burns on my hands and 2 gallons, 3 quarts all together. during the processing phase in the water bath, i lost one jar when the bottom cracked off as mentioned before.
this ought to get me through the year........ I hope!!!
CHEERS!!!! and happy berry season!!!!
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Category: Garden @ ECO | Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:22 am
It was exciting to get planted this spring.
My soil is far better now than when I found it. after a summer cover crop, and the application of 1/2 inch of home made compost. The dirt was dark and spongy when I Tilled it. Rain has been plentiful and the "drought" we had is in effect over, It wasn't as bad as most might have you believe. A good start, yes but to my dismay, the bugs have found me. I grow organically, no chemicals!! I don;t really even spray organic pest control. I may have to though.
This photo is of my Tatsoi. I love it, it's so buttery/smooth and sweet to eat. raw in salads, or lightly wilted on grilled ..... well, anything! Flea Beetles found me this year, I have never had to deal with them before.
this is one i deemed good enough to take a picture of. A total failure this year. But that's good, right. i grew it because i love the challenge of learning a new plant, how it will react to what i feel is good care. I have more seed, I'll try again this fall.
the next few shots are of the overall spring garden.
3 types of Beets
5 lettuce varieties
2 types of carrots
sugar snap peas which germinated poorly this year. perhaps 75%, which for 2 10 foot rows, is a bit much for my liking.
i am also trying salsify this year. its an annual that is harvested for its root. its called an "oyster plant" i have cooked with it before. its crunchy, mild, nutty. not unlike the texture of a water chestnut or a sun choke. the flavor isnt too much like either, however. it has germinated well and seems to be off to a good start.
i tried red onions from seed, may not be the best decision i have ever made. ive got a couple from the first planting, and maybe 10 from the second planting. perhaps a dozen total, in a 15 ft row.
the peppers and tomato seedlings are patiently waiting their turn.
more to come!!
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