We visited the farm today. We saw some chicks, fed some ducks, bought some fruit…
You may remember I’ve mentioned in the past that my bread machine has a jam cycle? It makes roughly 2-3 cups of jam per batch, which means that I can keep a little bit for myself in the fridge, and set the rest aside for gifts during the year. It’s the perfect thing for us, because we get to have a nice variety of flavors, but we don’t end up with more than we can eat of any one type. As much as I like having homemade jam in the fridge, it does take us some time to go through a whole jar.
I made a batch of strawberry jam last week, and have been enjoying it enough since then that I regretted not getting started sooner, while strawberries were still plentiful. Strawberries are over, if the farmer’s market is any indication.
Or are they? I was pleasantly surprised to find several pints of big, beautiful strawberries at the farm today. Yay!
I bought enough for another batch of jam and a batch of smoothies. I also bought some raspberries, and some blueberries, and as soon as I got home, I became a jam-making fool:
Raspberry canned and cooling, blueberry processing in the machine, strawberry assembled and waiting its turn.
Since taking these photos, I’ve canned the blueberry and gotten the strawberry started.
(And since writing that sentence, I’ve also canned the strawberry and printed out some labels for all of them – hey, it’s summer, and I’m taking my computer time in doses too small for efficient blogging…)
I’m out of canning jars now, but I think I should order more because I have a sudden urge to make some more exotic flavors. Gooseberry, perhaps? Maybe currant? Mulberry would have been nice to do again, but that ship has sailed already this season I think. I wish we had boysenberries in this area of the world. I love them. When the wineberries in our yard ripen, I’ll certainly make a batch of wineberry jam. And I will remember to take it easy on the added pectin – I’ve made wineberry hockey pucks more often than I care to admit…
If you have a bread machine and it has a jam cycle, I highly recommend the small-batch thing. It can be as simple as dumping in the ingredients, pressing a button, waiting an hour, and then pouring the resulting jam into jars. Easy! I’ve added the step of putting them in a canning bath, because I want to feel confident that they’ll keep for a year, but it’s not necessary if you think you’ll eat them within a few months.
If you need a reference, The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook has a great jam section, full of recipes and instructions.