« What's On (and off) the Needles | Main | Grilled Spicy Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Cilantro »

Strawberry Madness and Cherrypalooza

Copy%20of%202%20058.jpg

It's canning season again! I've been working with strawberries and cherries. I am thrilled that some of our local farms are now growing cherries. This weekend we extended the strawberry season by driving north to New Hampshire, where we picked at Brookdale Farms in Hollis. It's less than an hour from Boston, and the you-pick price was much lower than at our local farms. We picked 20 pounds in about an hour. Afterward we wandered around and stumbled onto the lovely Andres Institute, a hillside sculpture garden in the woods. Some nice hiking and interesting sculptures, until mosquitoes and rain forced us back to the car.

2%20001.jpg

I've put up Strawberry-Amaretto jam, Strawberry-Balsamic jam, Strawberry-Pinot Noir jam, Brandied Cherries, Strawberry-Rhubarb jam, and Cherry Jam. By this time I've become comfortable enough with the materials and techniques that I'm working with recipes as suggestions for ingredients, and experimenting as I go. Safety first, so I follow procedures for sterilization, acidity levels, and processing times. I do like to use at least some pectin in jams so I don't have to be messing around too much with long simmers and unknown set points. I use the no-sugar pectin when using commercial pectin, and do use sugar, although much, much less than in traditional jams so I get more fruit flavor and less sugar. I like a slightly looser set than commercial jams and made my own pectin from green apple cores and skins last year. Depending on the fruit, I sometimes cut back on the pectin--for example, raspberries and apples have a lot of natural pectin so I may use only half of the pectin envelope or my homemade pectin with them. I often use Christine Ferber's technique of macerating the fruit to draw out the juices, then cooking it first to concentrate flavors and natural pectin. Looking forward to raspberries and blueberries next week!

2%20034.jpg


A friend had asked about my Strawberry Pinot Noir Jam, so here you go:

Strawberry Pinot Noir Jam

For the strawberry jam, quarter about 8 cups cleaned and hulled strawberries. Put them into a bowl with a cup of sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice, and stir to coat. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Then, drain off the juice that collects, and put the juice into your cooking pot. Add 1/2 the berries, 1/2 cup pinot noir wine, and simmer until the berries are soft. Use a potato masher to mash the berries into the syrup, then cook a few minutes until it begins to thicken. Put a small plate into the freezer.

Meanwhile, wash your jars, put them into your canner with water to cover by an inch, and boil for 10 minutes. Put the washed lids, ladle, funnel, and a chopstick into a smaller pan with water, and simmer 10 minutes. Turn down that heat, then add the lids to the pan so the rims can soften.

Add the rest of the berries to the jam pan, and cook for 5-10 minutes. Mix 1 envelope no-sugar pectin with a cup of sugar. Thoroughly stir this mixture into the jam, and bring to the boil for 1 minute. Taste and add more sugar if you wish. Test for gel by putting a teaspoon of the jam onto the frozen plate. It should thicken after a minute or so, enough so that you get a "trail" when you push your ginger through.

Copy%20of%20Blog%2022%20010.jpg

Take your jars out of the canner (I do hope you have a jar lifter!) and put onto a towel on the counter. Place a funnel onto the first jar, ladle in jam til 1/4 inch of the top. Remove funnel, use the chopstick to pop any air bubbles, then wipe the rims with a damp paper towel until clean. Place on the lid, then the ring, and tighten. Repeat with remaining jars. Carefully put jars back into the canner, and when the water comes to the boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, remove cover, and let jars sit for 5 minutes. Then take jars out and put onto a towel, and let rest for 24 hours. You should hear the "ping" of the vacuum forming within a few minutes. After 24 hours, remove the bands, check for a good seal, wash the jars, label and store. I got 8 1/2-pints, your mileage will vary.

Here's another one:

Brandied Cherries with Wine and Spices: (adapted from Canning for a new Generation)

Pit three pounds sweet cherries. (and yes, I totally recommend one of those cherry pitter gizmos. I take the pit "reservoir" off so I don't have to stop and clean it out, and plan on showering afterward. The first time I pitted cherries I was startled into thinking I'd broken out on a horrid rash later when I glimpsed my arm covered in pinpricks of red)

In your jam pan, combine 2 cups brandy, 1 cup fruity red wine, a few long strips of orange zest, and 1 cup sugar. Bring to the boil, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the pitted cherries, lower the heat and simmer 5 minutes. Taste the syrup and add more sugar if needed.

Meanwhile, wash 7 1/2 pint jars, put them into your canner with water to cover by an inch, and boil for 10 minutes. Put the washed lids, ladle, slotted spoon, funnel, and a chopstick into a smaller pan with water, and simmer 10 minutes. Turn down that heat, then add the lids to the pan so the rims can soften.

Take your jars out of the canner (I do hope you have a jar lifter!) and put onto a towel on the counter. Place a funnel onto the first jar, and use the slotted spoon to ladle in cherries until 1/2 inch from the top. Tuck in a cinnamon stick, 1-2 of the orange zest strips, and a star anise if you have some. Then ladle in the syrup to cover until 1/4 inch from the top. Remove funnel, use the chopstick to pop any air bubbles, then wipe the rims with a damp paper towel until clean. Place on the lid, then the ring, and tighten. Repeat with remaining jars. Carefully put jars back into the canner, and when the water comes to the boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, remove cover, and let jars sit for 5 minutes. Then take jars out and put onto a towel, and let rest for 24 hours. You should hear the "ping" of the vacuum forming within a few minutes. After 24 hours, remove the bands, check for a good seal, wash the jars, label and store. I got 9 1/2-pints, your mileage will vary. These should sit for at least a month before using so the brandy and wine will permeate the fruit.
Copy%20of%202%20054.jpg

Comments (2)

YUM. I haven't made any jam yet this year and am not sure if or when I'll get to it. Your preserves look great.

I LOVE strawberries. This post brought back memories of strawberry picking in the summer when I was little. I was not a very good strawberry picker though as I used to eat more than I would pick! Hope you are enjoying your summer!!

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 5, 2011 8:55 AM.

The previous post in this blog was What's On (and off) the Needles.

The next post in this blog is Grilled Spicy Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Cilantro .

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.33
© 2004 - 2014 Slow Travel