Strawberry Jam or Strawberry Sauce?

A couple of weeks ago I made strawberry jam. Last year we had so much rain the strawberries weren’t abundant. And late frosts effected the peach crop, so I didn’t make peach jam either. We actually bought jam! This year the strawberries were lovely and I got a flat at the Farmers Market.

I’ve been making jam for fifty years. We had four children so I made a lot of jam. Back in the day we covered the jam with parafin wax. Occasionally a jar would get moldy under the wax and have to be discarded. Now they are put through a boiling water bath in the canning kettle for ten minutes. These jars can stay on the shelf for a couple of years.

I did two big batches of jam. Eight pints the first time. Six pints and two half pints the second time. The second batch didn’t jell. I had used SureJell and actually followed the directions to the letter.  So I reprocessed the second batch and added another packet of SureJell. They jelled a little, but not as much as they should have for jam that wouldn’t run off your toast.

I left the jars on the counter for several days as I debated about processing for a third time. I didn’t want concrete jam, so ultimately decided I would call it Strawberry Sauce and use it on ice cream when we have company.

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And in between batches of jam I was able to get my Working Writers Forum submission ready to send out. The meeting is tonight. I can’t wait to hear the always constructive critiques.

Market Paella

Last weekend the husband and I helped set up at the Farmer’s Market again. We’d had lots of rainy Saturdays, but Memorial Day Saturday had blue skies and sun. I was able to take lots of photos that I can use in the weekly MailChimp market reminder.

The chef demo was a market paella (vegetarian) made by Taylor Hale. He walked around to the vendors and collected vegetables. He made the stock from vegetable leaves and spent time prepping the veggies. The only things he brought with him were rice, spices and water.

The kettle in the back left of the photo above is the stock he made on site from vegetable leaves. I was inspired by this as I often think I’m going to use the leaves I cut from my Hakuri turnips or beets, etc. but they usually go into the compost. Now I am throwing all those things in the stock pot with some onions and maybe some leftover vegetables in the fridge and making vegetable stock.

 

I asked Taylor about what kind of rice he used and I took a photo of the bag. It’s available on Amazon. He said Bomba was an alternative paella rice. His seasoning is his own concoction. It’s called Mo’ Spanish and is available on his website as is the recipe for the green sauce he added to the samples being handed out. I bought some Mo’ Spanish and made some paella with Arborio rice which was the closest I could come with what I had in the pantry. Later in the week I made a double batch of hummus (1 can chickpeas and 1 can Cannellini beans) and used some Mo’ Spanish. The hummus was terrific.

Later in the week I made a double batch of hummus (1 can chickpeas and 1 can Cannellini beans) and used some Mo’ Spanish. The hummus was terrific and a lovely protein substitute for meat.

The market is a welcoming place for neighbors and friends to meet. Dogs, and children of all ages, are welcome.

A Busy Weekend

Next year will be the 20th year of the St. Michaels Farmers Market. It was started by a couple of women who then helped start other farmers markets in the area. They called them Fresh Farm Markets and the parent organization provided insurance, organizational help, etc. Fresh Farm Markets are now primarily on the Western Shore (Annapolis, DC, etc.) and this is the last year they will be the umbrella organization for the St. Michaels market. We are in transition this year but have wonderful vendors with terrific products. It’s fun getting to know the farmers.

I volunteered to help get out the weekly market reminders on MailChimp. It was something I knew how to do and enjoy. And my husband and I have been volunteering some Saturdays to help with market set-up. We are scheduled to do that again this weekend. Last Saturday was rainy and I woke up this morning at 3:30 to the sound of rain. It seems to have moved off for now, but even if it rains, people come prepared.

By the time we got to the market at 7:30 it was 65 degrees and not raining. The market was bustling by the time I left at 10. I’d walked over to the Community Garden to take a look at a bed nobody wanted. I’ll weed it this weekend and plant some blue hubbard squash I raised from seed. The beds at the Community Garden are 14 feet long so the plants will have plenty of room to run.

Last week at the Farmers Market I bought a loaf of low gluten bread. What a treat. We don’t keep bread in the house because my husband has gluten sensitivity. We had the last few pieces last night – toasted and topped with homemade guacamole – while we played rummy.

The town will be chockablock this morning. Besides the Farmers Market, it’s the weekend of the St. Michaels Wine Festival. People who live in town have to put up with more than the usual weekend foot traffic – and some drunken shenanigans. We helped one of the first years of the Wine Festival when it was held at the Maritime Museum grounds. Now it is spread all over town at inside venues and tented spaces.We usually don’t go into town on Wine Festival Weekend unless we need to.

This afternoon we are helping with an event to be held at the Avalon Theatre in Easton. It is a fund raiser for the Talbot Interfaith Shelter. People will gather to sing together, raising positive vibrations in our community for this very good cause. Here’s the link to the inspiration. It gives me chills every time I watch it.

I’ll let you know how it turns out. When I get home I’m working in the garden. I have Amish paste tomato plants to get in the ground and my husband is going to mow at the Community Garden. This is the time of year when sometimes the grass needs to be mowed twice a week.