How do You Preserve the Summer’s Bounty?

Summer in Canada is a wonderful time of year. Warmth and green begin to surround us. It is also a bountiful time as gardens and markets begin to fill be ripe delicious produce. Part of the dilemma in Canada is how do we keep the mouthwatering goodness of summer for the cold long days of winter? Preserving the harvest by freezing, dehydrating or canning creates endless opportunities.

I have to admit last year was a bit of a flop for me, my garden failed and I put away very little for the winter. This year is a new year and I am determined to fill the freezer with fresh beans, corn, peas and more! I also have many empty jars waiting to be filled with jams, pickles, relish and salsa. If you have a favourite recipe to preserve the harvest I would love you to share it with us!

This is my favourite strawberry jam recipe I have used for years. It comes from “The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving” by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard. (you can pick up a copy at Read’s Bookshop here in Carleton Place!) It takes a little planning but very little energy and doesn’t heat up the kitchen on those hot days! It contains no added pectin or Certo and because of the shorter cooking time it retains its colour and fresh flavour. For best results make sure to use a few under ripe berries with green tips to up the natural pectin content.

-Mix 4 cups strawberries with 4 cups sugar and let stand for 8 hours, stirring occasionally.
-Place mixture in a heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
-Add 1/4cup lemon juice and boil rapidly for 5 min.
-Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 24 hours
-Bring berries to a full boil on high heat and boil rapidly for 5 min stirring constantly
-Remove form heat and ladle into hot canning jars and process in hot water bath for 10 min
Makes 2.5cups and recipe can be doubled