I Love My Aerogarden

I am so enamored with my Aerogarden – I’ve honestly got to say its one of the best (and most useful) Christmas presents I’ve ever received. Having done its job well the first go round with herbs, a few weeks ago I decided to start a batch of salad greens. Here’s what it looked like last week, on the 13th, when it was about 1 1/2 weeks from the start:

And here it is yesterday, with just a couple days to go before I can start harvesting it.

 

What a difference! I have such a black thumb when it comes to indoor plants, but this system is foolproof. Each “kit” has about a 3-4 month lifespan, next up will probably be cherry tomatoes, so I can have tasty tomatoes in the off-season.

BTW, if there’s any question, I’m not getting paid to push this product or anything – its just something I got that I’m really impressed with and felt the need to sing the praises of. :)

Morning Glory Bread

Along comes another fantastic creation from my husband who has been jonesin’ for carrot raisin bread ever since we went to Mimi’s Cafe in Polaris last week – we had a bunch of shredded carrots that needed to be used, and he agreed to make the bread if I found a recipe. That was one deal I couldn’t pass up.

morningglory

I never cease to be impressed with Paul’s skills in the kitchen – he’s really come into his own in the last decade; sometimes I find it hard to believe that this is the same guy who burned chili almost every time he made it when I married him 11 years ago. Since then, we’ve each discovered our strengths – my strengths are dishes where I’m allowed to improvise and that don’t require patience, his are dishes that require exact measurements (as most baked recipes do), and those that require meticulous attention (like custards and things that require frequent stirring or things to be done slowly). We’re almost like yin and yang in the kitchen – his organized manner to my chaotic one, his OCD about keeping things neat and clean to my running about the kitchen making a mess; but somehow it works and we manage to churn out some pretty impressive (at least to us) food. Consider me doubly impressed by his Morning Glory Bread – it was baked perfectly (popped right out of the bundt pan with no problem, crust was done just so, and it was moist and delicious). I should have him bake more often. :)

Morning Glory Bread
courtesy Recipezaar

1 c. oil
1/2 c. milk
4 eggs
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 c. grated carrots
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. raisins
1 c. shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Spray bundt pan with baking spray. In medium sized bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and cinnamon. In large mixing bowl combine oil, milk and eggs. Add flour mixture, stir until just moistened. Mixture will be thick. Fold in carrots, pineapple, raisins and coconut. Spoon into bundt pan. Bake 50-55 (ours took 65 minutes to bake to perfection) minutes or until pick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on rack. Remove from pan to cool completely.

Kitchen Sink Carbonara

Here’s another one of those meals that don’t look very pretty (no need to adjust your monitor, it really was *that* yellow because I used Americauna eggs), but tastes great and uses up tons of produce at the same time.

kitchensink

We call this one our Kitchen Sink Carbonara (although it has many more eggs than a traditional Carbonara), because it has everything in it BUT the kitchen sink. In one fell swoop, we used up most of our farmers markets purchases of the last two weeks. This is not for the faint of heart, as it is not healthy in the least – there’s enough fat in here to use up your allocation for most of the week, but lets face it – it just tastes better that way.

Kitchen Sink Carbonara

9 oz package fresh linguine
1 dozen eggs
1 tbsp. milk or cream
2 tbsp plus 3 tbsp butter
1/4 lb double smoked bacon, cut into lardons
2 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin
2 oz oyster mushrooms, torn along natural ribbons
1 small onion, diced
1 bunch tarragon, minced
1 bunch chives, snipped
1/2 bunch scallions, chopped
1 dozen grape tomatoes, halved
2 small zucchini, sliced thin and steamed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Saute lardons until browned, set pan aside. In separate pan, saute mushrooms, herbs and onions in 2 tbsp. butter until mushrooms are soft and onions are translucent and almost starting to caramelize. Meanwhile, set water for pasta to boil, and beat dozen eggs until fluffy with milk or cream. When you start the pasta in the water, put the pan with the lardons back on the heat and add 3 tbsp butter – heat it up until very hot (hot enough to coat pasta and make it hot enough to cook the egg – be careful not to burn the butter, though). When bacon fat/butter mixture is heated, put the drained pasta, and all veggies in the pan, and saute until everything is extremely hot. Add eggs, salt and pepper, and cook, turning frequently, until eggs are set to desired level of doneness (we like our eggs slightly browned, personally). Add additional seasoning if necessary, and serve.

Tempura Squash Blossoms with Herbed Goat Cheese

The final outcome of the recipe was not exactly what I expected, and as I’m not afraid to include my failures as well as my triumphs, figured I’d still put this out for public consumption as a public service announcement on how not to ruin a perfectly good bag of squash blossoms. You see, it looked awful when I was done, and didn’t taste much better.

squashblossom

Let me just say that squash blossoms are kind of hard to work with. The petals are quite delicate and easily damaged when you try to remove the stamen. And they’re pretty diffucult to clean, too. I had the bright idea to stuff them with an herbed goat cheese, and then dip them into tempura batter and fry them. Although it sounds great in theory, in practice – even with following the recipe exactly, the goat cheese mixture was too fragrant and herby, and totally overpowered the delicate flavor of the blossoms, and the tempura batter clung too much and puffed up too much and totally obscured the beauty of the blossoms – all pictures I’ve ever seen of tempura fried squash blossoms have just a thin coating of tempura here and there, but you can see most of the blossom. I *must* be doing something wrong, or else it just isn’t a very good recipe. If you decide to make this recipe, let me know how it turns out for you.

I think next time around, I’m going to try something different – there are two other recipes that sounded good. One was a crab stuffed squash blossom sauteed in butter, the other was this Emeril recipe. We’ll see – at least now I’m a little more familiar with the ingredient.

Tempura Squash Blossoms with Herbed Goat Cheese
courtesty Earthbound Farm Organic

Serves 6

Squash Blossom Stuffing:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
6 ounces plain goat cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
12 fresh squash blossoms
Canola oil, for frying

Heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over low heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until the moisture has mostly evaporated and the onions have just begun to caramelize. Cool mixture to room temperature.
Place the herbs and goat cheese in the bowl of a mixer and blend at low speed until the herbs are evenly distributed. Add the shallot-garlic mixture and blend again. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Carefully stuff each blossom with some of the herbed cheese. Set aside.

Tempura Batter:

1 1/2 cups soda water, plus more if necessary
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine the cornstarch and 1/2 cup of soda water in a small bowl and whisk to blend. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and cayenne pepper. Add the remaining cup of soda water and stir to blend. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 10 minutes.
Fill a deep frying pan or pot with 2 inches of canola oil and heat to 350 F over medium high heat.
Dip each blossom into the tempura batter. Transfer to the hot oil and cook until golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer blossoms to paper towels to absorb excess oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Farm Fresh and Local Produce – 6/16/07

We got an early start with our marketing this morning – we were at the North Market first, fairly early – before it got really crowded. The weather wasn’t too bad – a little warm, but otherwise sunny and very nice. Rhoads didn’t have any strawberries this week, but they did have raspberries, so I picked up some of those. It’s a good thing I got a flat last week to make jam, because this week I would have been out of luck. And across the way at Combs, I finally got my hand on a bag of squash blossoms, so expect to see them in a recipe tonight. :) As usual, I admired the seasonal flowers, but didn’t buy any (since I have a cat that thinks flowers are for munching on, not looking at). I always thought that sunflowers are later in the season, but I guess not.

sunflowers061607

Most of what I saw at the North Market this week was greens, like this lettuce from Elizabeth Telling Farms:

lettuce061607

I picked up some grape tomatoes (and a regular tomato) from Wishwell Farms – even though I planted a bunch of tomato plants this year, they’re all far from being ready – as a matter of fact, only one has set fruit so far.

tomatoes061607

And of course, I couldn’t resist the call of Toby Run – this isn’t the particular package of mushrooms I got, but I thought it was pretty, so I took a pic of it. The one I got is half shiitake, half pink oyster mushrooms. I’ve never tried oyster mushrooms, so I’m looking forward to it.

mushrooms061607

To round out my North Market purchases, I got a huge handful of chard leaves to use later this week, probably in a gratin. It should be interesting.

I knew better than to go to Worthington this week (between the seniors there signing up for free produce, and the Art festival they’re having on the green, I knew it would be very crowded, very early), so I hit Clintonville. I hit the jackpot in Clintonville, as Wishwell had strawberries!! Yummy juicy strawberries! All is not lost… I got two quarts, which I plan to scarf before the weekend is finished. Too bad this is the last of the Ohio strawberries for the season, which goes way too fast in my opinion.

strawberries061607

And I also picked up some radishes (for salad) and some scallions from Sippel Family Farm.

radishes061607

I’m not sure where these were, but these pictures of herbs was too pretty to walk by without taking a picture.

herbs061607

We were at 2Silos for a while waiting for a special order of guinea hen eggs, and while we were waiting, we grabbed some of the yummy Amish donuts.

donuts061607

Hopefully, we’ll be able to hit Worthington next week (as Clintonville will have the seniors then, and North Market will be crowded with ComFest peeps) – the kind people at 2Silos also mentioned they wouldn’t be at Clintonville for the next 2 weeks, as there will be a farmers market at Whole Foods in Dublin, and they will be there. Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Review: Elevator Brewery and Restaurant

I had such high hopes for Elevator. Really, I did. My husband and I have eaten here before and had a good meal. But it was, in fact, a while ago, and I did just get a burger and dessert last time, so I was basing my opinion of the place on that experience. On this, my second visit, we just weren’t as lucky.

We took girlchild with us, as we had picked her up to run errands before she leaves for New Jersey – and wanting to expand her palate a bit (she just got accepted into her high school’s culinary arts program – yay!), we decided to take her somewhere that would have some different flavors than those she is used to.

We got seated on the patio, where we sat for quite a while until our waitress saw fit to take our order (I guess the party of 6 that was ordering a lot of wine and beer with their meal took precedence) – we finally managed to get our appetizer order in, and then when she reappeared about 20 minutes later, I quickly got our entree order in before she disappeared for a long time again.

Bear in mind that Elevator is located smack dab in the middle of downtown – we had put nearly 2 hours on the meter, expecting to be out at the 1 hour – 1 hour 30 mark – one of the reasons we ended up skipping dessert was because we would have run out of time on the meter – that kind of pace, especially in a brewpub, is a bit too leisurely for my tastes.

We decided on a trio of appetizers to share amongst the three of us. The Champagne Brie ($8.95), described “brie, slow cooked in a puff pastry, drizzled with saute of sundried cranberries, pears, and champagne vinaigrette, garnished with almonds” on their menu, was easily the best dish of the evening. While it was good, it was difficult to differentiate the multiple ingredients, and it pretty much just blended together – in this case, I think it helped the dish rather than hurt it. All three of us enjoyed this very much.

Champagne Brie from Elevator

The second appetizer, Ryans Famous Corn Brats ($6.95), which the menu describes as “Juicy Johnsonville brats simmered in Elevator O Holy Gold, coated in a pilsner-corn batter and fried – served with sauerkraut and a spicy grain mustard”, was not at all what I expected. When I saw “pilsner-corn batter” I was expecting something along the lines of a corn dog – not beer batter with pieces of corn in it! This one had to be one of the strangest interpretations of a crunch pup (for those of you familiar with Arthur Treacher’s) that I’ve ever seen – while it was tasty enough, it was tastier with ketchup. The sauerkraut was ice cold, tough, and basically inedible. The three of us were “meh” about this appetizer – good but not great.

Ryan's Famous Corn Brats from Elevator

For the third appetizer, we split a Almond Crusted Chicken Salad ($9.95), which is described as “a boneless breast of chicken rolled in almonds and Japanese breadcrumbs, lightly fried, served with mesclun salad, topped with apples, white cheddar, smoked bacon and drizzled with honey mustard vinaigrette”. We all agreed that while this salad sounded great on paper, the final product ended up being far too complex and schizophrenic, with too many flavors clashing with each other and competing for attention – the Granny Smith apple was too tart to pair with the vinaigrette, and the vinaigrette made the chicken taste too salty, etc. We all agreed that we would never order this again, as none of us enjoyed it. We also agreed that this was the point in the meal where things started going horribly wrong, as none of our remaining entrees were anything like we expected them to be based on the menu description.

Almond Crusted Chicken Salad from Elevator

As her entree, my sister chose (can’t find it on their online menu), a Marsala Pasta with shrimp and scallops, spinach, portabella mushrooms, cherry tomatoes (which she left off), shallots, proscuitto, asiago cheese and panko bread crumbs in a marsala butter sauce – with that description, were expecting more of a creamy marsala type sauce; what we got instead tasted like one of my early experiments when I was learning to cook – it just didn’t taste good at all. The scallops were underdone, the sauce was overly winey and it tasted as if they didn’t allow the alcohol to cook off or add anything to make it more subtle. The remaining ingredients were all over the place, with none of them coming together in a cohesive dish. All three of us tried it, hated it, and it was left half uneaten.

Marsala Pasta from Elevator

My entree was not at all what it was described to be – I got the Beef Tenderloin Medallions ($23.95), which was described as “medallions of beef tenderloin, pan-seared and served with garlic mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, smoked bacon-red papper relish, and a marsala pan sauce” – with those expectations I expected 2-3 nice thick cut medallions of tenderloin, grilled (with that grilled in restaurant flavor that’s difficult to replicate at home), a nice little bit of potatoes that were creamy and garlicy, and a creamy mushroom sauce, with some grilled asparagus. It doesn’t sound that difficult to make – I’ve had variations on this exact meal hundreds of times in other restarants very successfully; that being said, that was the taste I was expecting. What I got instead was a couple of pieces of steak pounded within an inch of their life (this is tenderloin, people – there should be no pounding of tenderloin, its heresy!) that had the flavor of lo mein, topping a really watery tasting mashed potato. It was awful, so awful in fact that I traded entrees with my husband, and he (a steak lover) still only barely managed to choke down half the steak and none of the potatoes. The “marsala” sauce they served it with tasted like it had never seen marsala wine, mushrooms, or cream – somebody needs to go back to culinary school for Mother Sauces 101. When your diners see something on a menu, there’s a certain expectation on what you’ll receive – there is such a thing as creative license, but don’t make an asian brown sauce and then have the nerve to call it marsala. This one was a complete disappointment, to all three of us.

e_steak

My husband’s entree (at least until I traded with him) was Fish and Chips ($14.95), classic presentation, but look – there’s that whole corn kernels in the batter thing again – what is it with that? This was good, but not great – edible, but didn’t stand out. There’s a dozen places in town that do fish and chips much better, but as we quipped at the table “at least this doesn’t suck”.

Fish and Chips from Elevator

We had planned on sharing dessert, as their Grand Marnier Crepes were excellent the last time I had them, but between the time on the meter almost running out, and the fact that a brewing storm was blowing grit from High Street into my eyes and blowing over tables and glasses of water and cloth napkins and anything that wasn’t nailed down, I took that as our cue to leave. We probably won’t be back, unfortunately – or if we do, it will be for beer and burgers and Grand Marnier Crepes, as they pretty much missed on all counts with dinner.

If you’d like to go: Elevator Brewery and Restaurant, 161 N. High St, Columbus, OH, 614.228.0500

Update: it has come to my attention that most of the recent comments have come from shills sent this way by the restaurant, as evidenced by one of the employees (as can be seen here), Kevin Jaynes, talking about his “visit to the Elevator and how it has the best salad in Columbus” – given the general tenor and attitude of the recent comments, I suspect they are employees also, and am attempting to prove it at this time. Keep this in mind, folks, if you decide to go. Do you really want to give your business to an establishment that attempts to discredit bad reviews rather than taking the suggestions to heart and improving? I will never censor any comments on this site (I do filter out obvious spam only), but will take an opportunity to comment on this publicly (I usually respond privately to comments, which I have, but in this case, I’d like to comment publicly too).

Elevator on Urbanspoon

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

A few years ago, there was a little restaurant right on Rte. 23 in Lewis Center called Nacho Mama’s that had the best chicken tortilla soup I’d ever tasted. But, the Boyer restaurant curse (in which any restaurant we fall in love with closes months later) kicked in, and they ended up going out of business quite a few years ago. Not wanting to lose access to that spectacular dish, I came up with a copycat version, which I’ve improved upon over the years. In its soup-only state, it’s a very healthy dish, but the health factor decreases exponentially with the amount of high fat (cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips) garnish you use.

chickentortilla

I posted the recipe at Recipezaar quite a while ago, the only changes I’ve made since then is that I use Penzey’s Chili con Carne seasoning (which is a mix of cumin/chili powder and other spices) rather than just chili powder and cumin, and in the latest batch, I threw in a bag of Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn rather than adding a can of corn. Also, I’ve taken to adding a can of tomato sauce to the broth mix as well before throwing it in the crock pot. Keep in mind that the seasoning will intensify as it cooks, so don’t overseason. And you can get the thin tortilla strips (they come in an orange paper bag) at Kroger, or you can make your own with corn tortillas and a deep fryer, or if all else fails, you can use any corn tortilla chips/strips you want. Enjoy!

Cherry Clafoutis

I love, love, love having a husband who cooks. If I’m not feeling up to cooking, all I have to do is print off a recipe, hand it to him, and he runs with it. We bought some really beautiful cherries at the Anderson’s this past weekend, because after seeing a bunch of pictures of cherry clafoutis in everyone’s blogs last week, I was really craving some.

The taste was sweet but not too sweet, and kind of reminded of a cross between custard and cake – the bottom browned nicely in the Le Creuset pan we used. I look forward to trying out this recipe again this summer with other fruits. Traditionally, cherry clafoutis uses unpitted cherries (because it causes the cherries to bleed less, and because it gives it a subtle almond flavor), but we chose to follow the recipe as is – but we did use amaretto instead of brandy.

clafoutis

Emeril’s Cherry Clafoutis
recipe courtesy Food Network

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split in half
1 tablespoon brandy
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 pound stoned cherries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an oval ovenproof dish about 13 inches long. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Scrape the vanilla bean and add the pulp to the egg mixture. Stir in the brandy and flour. Whisk in the milk to form a smooth batter. In a mixing bowl, toss the cherries with the remaining sugar. Place the cherries in the ovenproof dish. Pour the batter over the cherries and place in the oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the cake is sponge like. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve the clafoutis warm. Garnish with powdered sugar.

May 2007 Roundup

I’m finally getting around to doing May’s roundup – between my arthritis acting up and the beautiful weather, I’ve either been going nonstop like the Energizer Bunny or laid out on the couch in pain. Either way, my apologies – I’ll try harder next month, I swear. :)

See that “Fresh From the Farmer’s Market” icon on the sidebar? Alanna from A Veggie Venture was kind enough to make it for us bloggers to link to entries or sites that have to do with farmer’s markets. In my case, I linked it to OEFFA (the Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association), which will help you find farm fresh produce, no matter what part of Ohio you live in. It’s definitely a link worth checking out!

And speaking of all things local, how cool is it that local food blogger Lisa got a mention in the Columbus Dispatch? Be sure to take a look if you haven’t already, she makes some great recommendations.

I found tons of recipes from other bloggers that I want to try out – what a talented bunch!

In savory recipes, Spring Rolls from Definitely Not Martha, Spaghetti with Stuffed Meatballs from Food, Wine and Friends, Corn and Black Bean Salad from Yumsugar, Spanakopita from Yambalaya, Aunt Virginia’s Meatballs from Is It EDible?, Ricotta Pasta with Fava Beans and Bacon from Apartment Therapy, Potato and Leek Soup from bFeedMe, Asparagus, Bacon and Poached Egg Salad from Cloudberry Quark, Righteous Red Potatoes from the Cookbook Junkie, Prosciutto and Melon Salad from Butta Buns, Bacon, Cheddar, and Green Onion Scones from Confections of a Foodie Bride, Creamy Asparagus Soup with Crab from Cooking with the Single Guy, Pappardelle with Tomatoes from Cumin & Coriander, Middle Eastern Turkey Burgers from Dejamo’s Distracted, Ode to Shiitake Mushrooms, with Pasta, Cream and Herbs and Carbonara with Boar Bacon and Asparagus from Restaurant Widow, Wasabi and Panko-Crusted Pork with Gingered Soy Sauce from Laurie’s Kitchen, Gougeres from Eat Drink Live, Balsamic Chicken from Everybody Likes Sandwiches, Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Ramp, Scallion and Mustard Sauce and Ramp Pesto from Cuisine Capers, Smoked Pork Jowl Muffins with Maple Glaze from What Geeks Eat, Bloody Good Pie from The Way the Cookie Crumbles, Grilled Chicken Lime Soup from The Gracious Bowl, Gnudi with Ramps and Brown-Butter Sauce from Homesick Texan, The Rampwich from Vanesscipes, Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar from Kalyn’s Kitchen, Cheese-Filled Figs in Salami from Kirsten’s Home Cooking, Beer-Simmered Bratwurst with Grilled Onions and Red Sauerkraut from Leite’s Culinaria, Spanish Tortilla al Chorizo from Mantia’s Musings, Beer Beef Bolognese Parpadelle from teczcape, Macaroni and Cheese with Lobster from thepassionatecook, and Green Rice from Trial and Error.

In sweet recipes, Raspberry Doughnuts from Cloudberry Quark, Vanilla Frozen Yogurt from 101 Cookbooks, Sugar Crusted Breton Butter Cake from The Barmy Baker, Strawberry Mascarpone Ice Cream and Peach Pecan Muffins from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, Pecan and Date Blondies from Writing at the Kitchen Table, Strawberry Trifle from Hot N’ Sweet Bowl, Fresh Cherry and Toasted Almond Tart from Well Fed, Individual Bread Puddings from Janet is Hungry, Bacardi Rum Cake from Madam Chow’s Kitchen, Sopaipillas from MattBites, Tiramisu Mousse & Lemon Curd Verrines from Rosa’s Yummy Yums, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake from Smitten Kitchen, Apple Brie Pancakes and 1-2-3-4 Lemon Cake from Superspark, Mirabelles Clafoutis from Tartelette, and Rhubarb and White Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes from thepassionatecook.

In informative posts, Andrea’s Recipes shows us how to roast a head of garlic, bFeedMe shows you how to cure your own olives, Brandon Eats teaches you how to make ravioli, learn how to fillet a flat fish at Superfood, Donna’s Rhubarb Scones from HomeMadeS, Poppy Seed Filled Cookies from Honeyed Words, and SimplyRecipes shows you how to make a lattice top for a pie crust.

Keep an eye out for an updated events section in the next few days. I’ve gotten a bit behind, because there is just so much going on in Columbus since it’s summer now. Some weeks I actually have to decide between two events I’d really like to go to. There should be more restaurant menus going up soon as well.

I may as well put this out there again – any of you guys interested in starting a supper club? If so, let me know…

Until next month, folks…

Conquering My Fear of Canning

I finally did it! I conquered my fear of the canner and I overcame it! When I first contemplated making my own strawberry jam, I was a bit intimidated by the science of it all – feeling if one thing went wrong, I’d end up killing everyone with my jam of death. ;) But it ended up being a piece of case with the help of this step-by-step primer on how to make homemade jam from PickYourOwn.org.

strawberry jam

6 quarts of strawberries yielded 10 pints and 4 half-pints of the best strawberry jam I’ve ever tasted. By using strawberries at their prime, I was able to capture the sweetness and in your face strawberry flavor of ripe June berries. In addition, we ended up with most of a jar of jam that we’ll be able to use in the next few days. I spread some on a piece of toast with butter.

jam on toast

Now that I’ve overcome my lack of confidence with canning, I’m planning on doing a lot more of it during the growing season so next winter won’t be quite so dreary and local food free – stay tuned for canned peaches, applesauce, mixed berry jam, pickles, salsa, marinara sauce and more!