Snippets from the berry patch


Anonymous said...

Your pictures are always so good. You have a good eye for something, I am not sure how it is done, but I always enjoy the composition and the colours along with seeing your little family growing.

About jam: It is so satisfying. I make it almost every year, but before I do I always say I am not making jam this year, then I end up with tons of great cheap/free fruit and I do. I know I am making peach jam this year when the farmers start doling out the bruised fruit at the market. But who knows what else will come my way? People give us stuff all the time.

I used to try to skimp on the sugar and even the cooking length, but that is a huge no-no. One thing that does work very well is using the no-sugar pectin. You use apple or grape juice as your sweetner. It tastes a bit more tart, but I find it less cloying.

I am sure being the down to earth type you would not consider artificial sweetners, but if you ever did: DON'T

There are other fancy sweetners out there like stevia, which I think may be useable and is very good for you.

I have found a few combos that we really enjoy: red pepper flakes in crab apple jam (great with meats), I am sure mint in crab would be good too, vanilla and the little scrawny pears that grow in Alberta is so good it is unbelievable. Dwight brought home three garbage bags of this stuff one year from a client's back yard. He couldn't stand seeing them go to waste. At first I was a little upset that I had so much work to do, but the jellies I made were the best and most unusual I had ver tried. We had vanilla-pear, lemon-pear, red-pepper-pear, halapeno-pear, and a few more I can't remember.

Thank you for your post you have inspired me to make sure I do make it out to the u-pick 10 minutes away from us.


D'Andrea said...

hey Maria! The other day I made a great cherry chutney to serve with meat and cheeses. I used cumin as the main spice with onion, r/g pepper, orange peel, mint, brwn sugar... it turned out great. I canned it, do you think it'll be o.k without the high sugar content or any perservatives? jalapeno- pear sounds really yummy. I'm going to try a peach salsa when they come out.

Maria said...


Your chutney sounds very adventerous! Did you make it up or was it based on a recipe?

I don't know how long things preserve for if they don't have lots of sugar. I would think that the preservation takes place mostly by removing the oxygen from the jars and cooking the ingredients to make sure all the bugs die.

My mishap with not cooking long enough and not using enough sugar with the pectin that calls for pectin resulted in very good crab syrup rater than crab jelly. We use it on pancakes and with joghurt.

I haven't made any chutneys or salsas. I did try some mango avocado salsa at a block party on our street. It was fresh though and delicious. It might have had cilantro in it.