Lack of Sleep and Jam

This post is being written in a vague attempt to not fall asleep at my desk this afternoon.  It’s only vague because pretty much everything I’ve done all day has been pretty vague.  Vague is also fun to say.  The more I type it out, the weirder it looks so I should maybe stop now.  I feel like I’m at risk of falling asleep on the phone this afternoon because sleep and I were mortal enemies last night, and due to this discrepency in our schedules, I got very little of it.  I already requested some nap time this afternoon but was promptly denied.  Apparently there is no rest for the wicked.  Or the sleep-deprived. 

This weekend was fairly productive.  Laundry and floors were done on Saturday,  along with Rhubarb Jam and canned Peaches in Syrup with help from my dear Mother.  Groceries were picked up as well.  I also have another ice cream pail and a half of frozen rhubarb.  It’s going to be a rhubarb-y winter.  My freezer is becoming a cornucopia of rhubarb.  Good thing I adore rhubarb! 

Rhubarb Jam

2lbs rhubarb

2 cups sugar

1. Chop rhubarb into 1″ pieces.  Put in a medium size bowl and add sugar.  Mix well and cover with a tea towl.  Let the rhubarb macerate in the sugar overnight. 

2. Pour everything from the bowl into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Let boil vigorously for 5 minutes.  You can let it cook longer if you want the rhubarb really broken down, otherwise don’t let it go over the time.  Ladle jam into hot jam jars, place seal on top and tighten the ring.  Process in a water bath for 10 minutes.  Let it sit on the counter for 24 hours.  Check seals and store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.

I have a sneaky suspicion that this would be good with cardamom added, but I don’t know why because I’ve never really had a lot of cardamom.

Thinking ahead to Winter Part 1 – Freezing

This is the first year ever where I’ve had my own apartment and really want to start canning and preserving things for winter.  The easy stuff is making sure I have fruit prepared and in the freezer for winter green smoothies and baking. I’m going to be doing a 2 part series on preparing foods for winter.  This is the first post and will be all about freezing food for later use.  I mostly freeze my own berries, I usually buy pre-frozen veggies.

I found a place just north of the city that has u-pick raspberries that will be ready in a few weeks.  These people purchased the land last fall and found out that there’s 5 acres of raspberry bushes!  They’re also selling plants, but I don’t have anywhere to grow a raspberry bush so unfortunately can’t take advantage of that, but at least I can go pick my own raspberries.  Raspberries don’t travel well and go bad very quickly after they’re picked so it’s impossible to buy a large quantity from the grocery store, especially if you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for them.  My plan for the raspberries is one ice cream pail frozen and a batch of raspberry jam.  I looooove raspberry jam, but store-bought is never sour enough for me.

The other frozen goods I’m planning on are strawberries, blueberries and I still have rhubarb from last year.  I’m now thinking that I should maybe go pick my own corn and freeze a bunch of that…that’d be good too, I love sweet corn and add it to pretty much everything!

Frozen stuff is easy to prepare.  First you wash everything and make sure you got rid of any bugs/dirt if you picked them or got them directly from a farmer.  If you’re doing strawberries, you then remove the green tops and cut them into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the berries.  Once they’re cut, and for every other berry, the next step is to line a large sheet pan with parchment paper or saran wrap and spread out the berries in one layer.  If you have more then one layer worth, make sure you put another layer of parchment paper or saran wrap in between the layers.  The point of freezing them in one layer is so that they don’t freeze into one huge chunk of berry, making it easier later on to take out the amount you need while cooking.  Place sheet pan in the freezer and let freeze till solid.  Once they’re frozen, store in ziploc bags or 4L Ice cream pails.  My preference is Ice Cream Pails.

I usually try to have at least one ice cream pail of raspberries, and two ice cream pails each of blueberries and strawberries.  Strawberries and blueberries are integral ingredients in my green monsters.  If I can find nice peaches I would probably do some of those as well, but they require blanching which I’m not terribly familiar with but can probably get my mom to help.