Eating My CSA

Using the vegetables from my CSA share


Posts Tagged ‘canning’

So it begins . . .

strawberry jam

Aren''t these jars cute?

Yes, I know, it’s early. But nothing says “spring is coming” like seeing Plant City, FL strawberries in the store.

When I was growing up, we never, I mean NEVER bought Florida strawberries. By the time they got to us in Greenfield, WI, they had absolutely no flavor. After I finished college, I moved to Florida to live with my mom. It was then that I discovered the Plant City Strawberry Festival, and the Florida version of the wonderful fruit for which it is named. Today, when we see Plant City strawberries at the Greenbelt Co-op Grocery store, we buy up three pounds of them and I try out a recipe or two.

I have been experimenting with recipes from two books mentioned in my last post. The first, Canning for a New Generation, has many wonderful strawberry jam and preserve recipes. Among those I have tried are:

  • Strawberry Lemon Preserves
  • Strawberry Jam with Thai Herbs
  • Chamomile Strawberry Syrup
  • Spiced Strawberry Butter
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Of course, all of them have turned out well, but Strawberry Jam with Thai Herbs is a favorite. I made a batch of this today with the Plant City strawberries my darling husband got yesterday. And a bonus, he also found these really cute, wide-mouth half-pint jars in which to can my strawberry creations.

On the savory front, I received my dry mustard and mustard seeds from Penzey’s Spices and have made Dijon Mustard and Old-Style Whole Seed Mustard using recipes from the Small-Batch Preserving book, also mentioned in my last post. ¬†Both turned out well, although the Whole Seed Mustard probably needed to steep in the wine vinegar another day before I finished it off.

So I’m off to a good start. I even made sourdough English muffins on which to put the jam. We have also been putting the preserves on ice cream. Yes, it truly is pure ambrosia in a jar.

Preparing for the Season

I have resolved that this year, I will be much better at planning for the vegetables and fruits that I get from my CSA. To that end, I purchased two new (to me) canning books this week.

The first one is Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff. She says, “When I was growing up, canning was for old folks, spinsters, and separatists.” Since that doesn’t happen to be the case anymore, she presents recipes organized by season, along with water-bath canning instructions. It’s superb. The photos are making me long for the season to start.

The next book, Small Batch Preserving, by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard, has a lot of intriguing recipes, specifically for condiments. I made my first batch of homemade mustard in the fall, and we just ate the last of it, so I plan to take advantage of the mustard recipes. I found a great resource for mustard seeds and other spices – Penzey’s spices. Very reasonable and they do web orders! I was also intrigued by the small-ness of the batches – perfect for CSAs!

I plan on testing some of the recipes in each of the books so I don’t make a whole batch of something that tastes nasty. Today, I made a small amount of Chamommile Strawberry Syrup and Spiced Strawberry Butter (from Krissof’s book) with a pound of Plant City, FL strawberries. Both taste very good, but I’m sure they will be even better with locally grown strawberries in season.

Also, I found this chart for Maryland harvests. The plan is to test recipes that I want to try, and if I like them, I can put a reminder on my calendar to start looking for specific veggies and fruits contained in the recipes in my CSA and at the farmer’s markets. If it’s something I absolutely love (strawberries), I may find a U-pick place close to here and get enough to make several different things.

We’re going to need more space to put all of the canned goodness – I can tell already!