Sunday, June 12, 2011

Strawberry Jam

Local berries are available here in SW Ontario, so we loaded up the car and went to Heeman's, our favourite berry place, to pick up a flat. Yup, a flat. Cause when we do berries, we go big or go home. Funny story about Heeman's. A couple of years ago David went on a field trip with Patrick to O'Shea's, another lovely local farm operation. Apparently whenever the poor guide tried to talk about some aspect of the farm, Patrick kept asking her if she knew about Heeman's. Strawberries? They have those at Heeman's. Flowers? We get those at Heeman's. A few of the parents told me later it was one of the most amusing field trips they had been on, because Patrick wouldn't shut up about Heeman's and it was putting the guide into a bit of a fluster. Which sounds a lot like Patrick. He's very chatty and does fluster like no one else.

We managed to eat quite a few quarts of berries this weekend. I froze two or three and made jam out of a few as well. I haven't made strawberry jam in years. The recipe I used was from the back of a packet of gelling powder from Bernardin I found in my pantry that I may have bought last Spring when I was going to make jam. (But didn't, obviously.) The packet didn't have an expiry date and seemed to be made up of ingredients designed to withstand nuclear fall-out, so I decided it was safe to use. And the resulting jam sure tastes good.

I even went to market to buy some fresh bread to try out my jam experiment. The bread was also awesome, courtesy of Red Cat Farm Bakery in Goderich. (In addition to the bread they make wonderful cinnamon buns. And chocolate rolls. And I may have tried a pretzel too. Don't judge me too harshly.) Now, if you visit this blog regularly you may notice something different about this picture. Can you spot it? That's right - a patterned, colourful plate! I'm usually a stickler for white dishes but something happened last weekend after our patio supper. I became obsessed with finding Summer dishes suitable for enjoying dinner alfresco. I thought about buying plastic/melamine then found too many websites telling me about all of the toxins found in this kind of dinnerware. So I went for an eclectic mix of good old fashioned china plates, all of which are cheap enough that if they break I won't be too bent out of shape. Likely painted with lead-based paint but I adore them in all of their mis-matched glory. David doesn't get Summer dishes but is being a good sport about it. Even if he did tell me at dinner tonight that our table looked like a Chinese restaurant from the 70's. I'm choosing to take that as a compliment.

(As for the jam, there isn't really much of a recipe to share. I cut up 4 cups of strawberries, sprinkled them with a cup and a half of white sugar, stirred gently to combine then used the gelling powder as per the instructions on the packet.)

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