My family moved to a farm when I was 12. Living in a "traditional" home, I was "drafted" into assisting with canning and freezing vegetables for many years. I HATED it... It's only been in the last few years that I've wanted to initiate that cycle for myself. I started with something simple, freezer jam, and have progressed from there.
I actually entered a couple of items in the North Carolina State Fair for the first time in 2012 and won Best in Show and a Blue Ribbon for my Sour Cherry Preserves. I picked the cherries, too, so my commitment to freshness and local produce is evident. In 2013, I won a Blue Ribbon for my Pepper Relish, demonstrating I can do more than make sweets.
It's become a bit of an obsession. There are fruits available throughout the year that are perfect for a variety of jams, marmalades and preserves. I'm working my way through the ten or so bags of cranberries I put in the freezer during the Christmas holiday; last week, I made Spiced Cranberry Jam with Grand Marnier. I've also been working on a variety of pink grapefruit marmalades, based on the gorgeous fruit our friends brought from Florida. And, I'm trying to resist buying clementines, but Clementine and Whiskey Marmalade I make is so delicious...
Another good year for cherries. Thanks so much to friends Don and Rosemary for bringing sour cherries back from Levering Orchard.
Why do I love this so much?
- Nothing says "I care" like something you've made yourself.
- What better way to control the quality of what you eat than by making it yourself?
- The sound of jars sealing is SO satisfying.
The variety is endless:
- Strawberry Jam with Black Pepper and Balsamic
- Pear and Ginger Jam
- Pink Grapefruit Marmalade
- Sour Cherry Preserves (also good with some almond extract)
- Black Mission Fig Preserves
- Peach Jam
- Strawberry Rhubarb Preserves