Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thursday is fruit day

Week 1 leftovers

Last summer was my first experience with shopping a farmers' market for fruits, veggies, meats, cheese, honey, and all sorts of other great organic food. I was in heaven. I bought all kinds of produce I'd never tried and had blast. Although my mother was not an adventurous cook, it very much reminded me of my childhood when we shopped at farm stands throughout the summer and bought our eggs from a farm early every Sunday morning before church. They had an egg refrigerator on the back porch and a little bowl for the money; it was a small town honor system.

One of the things I wanted to try this year was making jams/jellies and salsa. I asked for and received a canning set for Christmas, and committed to a 20-week fruit CSA for this summer. I signed up for a 4-person share so that I would have enough to preserve and some for me and the kids to enjoy through the week. For three weeks we received strawberries, and boy were they delicious.

The first week I followed one of the recipes for strawberry jam in the the Ball Blue Book "bible" and added 7 cups!! of sugar to two quarts of strawberries. The thought of eight 8-oz jars of jam with 7 cups of sugar divided among them made my pancreas squirm, but I did it anyhow. If nothing else, it was a good reference point for future sessions. I have a few jars left from the first batches (it's like your first quilt, you know?), but gave the rest away to the kids and my daughter-in-law's parents & sister.

I researched and found a different type of pectin that doesn't rely on sugar to gel. I bought it at Whole Foods Market, where it was about $2 less than the manufacturer if you can believe that. Each box makes 2-4 batches of jam or jelly, so it ends up being less expensive than the common varieties of pectin. And I'm much happier with the results (2 cups sugar v. 7 cups).

This week we received three different types of cherries, but I have no clue what types. Does anyone have good tips for distinguishing cherries? I'll make a pie for the weekend, and Susan told me I must try her Cherry Bounce recipe. I've never heard of it, but it sounds interesting.

Cherry Bounce

2 cups whole, unpitted sour cherries, gently washed
1/3 cup sugar
peel of one lemon
3 cups bourbon

Put the cherries in a quart jar. Add sugar and lemon peel, then fill with bourbon. Set in sun for at least two weeks, then store in a dark cupboard for two months or longer. Strain/filter to drink in small shot-type glasses, or repackage for great holiday gifts.

The process sounds a lot like limoncello and all I can think of is me imitating Carly Simon singing Anticipation.

Take care,


Magnolia Bay Quilts said...

There was a wonderful farmer's market where I grew up, and local farmers would park their trucks on the side of the road and sell fruits and vegetables along the highway. You just can't buy tomatoes in the store that come close to the ones they sold.

taylorsoutback said...

Cherry Bounce - haven't thought about that since we moved North! Your post had so many "memory triggers" - shopping at Farmers Markets (fortunately nearby) and limoncello - first experienced on a trip to Tuscany. And, oh yes, all that sugar in strawberry jam - my freezer jam recipe says 2 cups of prepared fruit to 4 cups of sugar - an attack waiting to happen, but when spread "sparingly" on home made bread - one of the most important basic food groups.:o) Thanks for visiting my blog - come back often and enjoy those strawberries!

The Calico Cat said...

A month later you probably know that 3 common cherry varieties are Ranier - the white & IMHO best variety; Bing - red & probably most common; & sour, bright red & small.