Last year I made jam. And jelly. And confiture. I lined my pantry with processed berries and stone fruits, figs and fruit sauces.
Not-so-ironically, this year I discovered that we are not big jam-eaters. Our morning breakfast doesn’t necessarily include the quintessential jam-on-toast. I cook far more than I bake, leaving nary a scone in the house. While a dollop of jam is brilliant on the occasional Greek yogurt – a spoonful once in awhile hardly merits an entire troupe of jars lined up in my pantry. And in fact: I did have enough jam to feed an army.
So I gave a LOT of jam away as gifts. Friends and family—with jam-eating habits—were grateful for their good fortune. And I was happy to share.
This year I am a year smarter, a year more practiced and onto my family’s eating habits. I won’t be making miles of jellies or vats of fruit jams. Though it was fun to experiment with a plethora of jams, this summer is all about putting up what is practical (aka: what my family will eat month over month). I am canning:
2. what we loved from last year and didn’t have enough of to last the whole year (dill pickles, grandma’s strawberry jam, tomato salsa, peach BBQ sauce), and
3. pickles. And I am not just talking cucumbers. So far I have canned: pickled beets, dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, dilly beans. Next up: carrots.
PICKLED BEETS RECIPE**
Lucy Norris from Pickled ~ Preserving a World of Tastes and Traditions.
15-18 small to medium red beets*, whole, unpeeled, scrubbed. (remove greens, leave an inch of stem)2 cups white sugar
2 cups vinegar
2 cups water
Spice bag: 1 piece cinnamon bark, 1 tsp whole cloves, 1 tsp allspice
Immerse beets in water, boil until tender (approx 10-15 min). Under cold water or when cool to touch, peel skins and stems (lovely for your compost!). Quarter beets. In a saucepan combine all ingredients (except beets), bring to boil, then remove spice bag. Add beets to pan ans simmer 15 minutes. Fill hot sterilized jars with beet mixture and process 10-15 in hot water bath.
*beets from my garden! Proud moment.
**I added club soda to the leftover beet brine and drank it – beet soda!