Sunday, June 20, 2010
Strawberry Fields Forever
We moved into the garden house with the inspiration of growing our food. Though, gardening has been SLOW, and the slugs seem to be getting way more food than we are. Garden's don't seem to want to grow well in June-uary.
We have had plenty of salads and enough strawberries and raspberries to top on our cereals, enough rhubarb to inspire crisps, but not much else. Our basil, zucchini, and tomatoes are stubborn in 55 degrees & raining, and the peas, beans and beets seem to be irresistible to the slugs. Under these desperate measures to have local food on a single income household. I made it to Broers Organic Strawberry farm and picked 20 pounds of strawberries for $20. Since we have rhubarb out our ears, and Broers strawberries to add to the handful of Washington native strawberries grown here, there was only 1 thing to do: STRAWBERRY RHUBARB JAM.
On this cold, rainy Summer Solstice, we decided to put some up. We started our first canning experiment on the mocha paperstone countertops with 6 recipes. You see, everything that goes in our mouths we want to benefit our health so, choosing a recipe isn't always that easy. We have several rules for our food: 1. Was it grown organically/sustainably? 2. Is it in season? 3. Is it real food? 4. Were the farmers/workers given a living wage? 5. How far did it travel to get to our table? If we combined all of these recipes we could have a check mark beside most of these questions and use our overabundance of red produce.
A little more strawberry than rhubarb, a little less sugar than they call for, less pectin (cause what the heck is that anyway), some fresh squeezed lemon juice, and lastly some fresh stolen rose petals from my sister's yard. And this is what we came up with.
10 cups strawberries
2 cups rhubarb
5 cups sugar
juice of 4 lemons
4 cups rose petals
1. Wash fruit. Cut rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces. Cover rhubarb with half the sugar and lemon juice, and let stand 1 to 2 hours.
2. Crush berries and mix with remaining sugar and combine with rhubarb.
3. Place mixture over low heat until sugar is dissolved, then boil rapidly, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
4. Pinch the white tips from the bases of the rose petals and add the petals to the pan, pushing them well down among the fruit. Bring to a boil until thick.
5. Pour into sterilized jars with 1/2 inch empty on top (to allow for expansion). Put on cap, screw band finger tight. Process in boiling water for 10 minutes.
Yields: 7 pints.
Roses were traditionally used in the Northwest to ease the heart and tone the cardiovascular system. Roses, strawberries, and lemons are high in Vitamin C.
Oh, here come Nate and Maggie to test out the goods.