Once the rainy weekend forecast grounded us at home this weekend, I had lofty visions of getting supremely organized and very settled on an exterior paint color.
Nope and nope. We may possibly be less organized than we were on Friday. A paint sample (Farrow & Ball Manor House Gray) did go up until Sunday evening, but no decision made yet.
In anticipation of the rain, I (brilliantly) bought our third set of Magna-tiles on Friday, which led to a creation our entire family could fit in, laying down, and towers as tall as the first floor of our house.
When the sun came out Sunday morning, we rolled with the seasons and went strawberry picking at Dondero Orchards.
So much more fun than getting organized and sampling paint.
Lots of strawberries means lots of strawberry projects.
We washed, chopped and mashed. We jammed, rolled and juiced.
The season’s first rhubarb, which I bought for these Rhubarb Chocolate-Chip muffins I’ve been dreaming of, was diverted into jam.
I’ve never canned anything before, though I might fool you with all the mason jars. Turns out, it’s not so hard and pretty satisfying.
At the orchard, I spoke to the creator of their award-winning jams, who assured me I could make my own, using the preferred pectin they sell in their shop, Pomona’s Universal Pectin (along with the recipe in the box). Pomona’s is apparently unique in being sugar-free itself and not requiring sugar to jell.
I might try the just-fruit recipe next time. But my first jam, above all, must be sweet. I added sugar (the minimum suggested) and I’m so happy about it. Can’t wait to try it in my oatmeal.
2 cups mashed strawberries
2 cups cooked rhubarb (chop up rhubarb, add a little water, cook until soft, measure)
2 T lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar and a few squeeze of honey
2 t calcium water (the pectin box contains calcium powder and instructions on dilution)
2 1/2 t pectin
Measure fruit into a pot. Add 2 teaspoons of pre-mixed calcium water. Stir well and turn heat to high. While the fruit is heating up, measure sugar or honey into a separate bowl. Thoroughly mix 2 ½ teaspoons pectin powder into sugar or honey. Bring fruit to boil. Add the pectin mixture and stir vigorously 1-2 minutes. Return to a boil and remove from heat. Fill jars to ¼” beneath lid. Wipe rims clean, place sterilized lid on and screw top finger tip tight. Boil in a water bath for 10 minutes. Remove to a dry towel and check to see the jar sealed.
When we mashed the strawberries, there was so much juice that I worried the mixture would never jel, even with the magical calcium-pectin mix. I drained the mash a bit. Okay, a lot.
The juice was so sweet, that while I mashed more berries to make Love U Madly’s fruit roll-up recipes, Scott and Ryan seized the red liquid gold for Strawberry Lemonade.
Ryan’s Strawberry Lemonade
It’s not hard to imagine this spiked for the adults, perhaps with basil or mint and some more mashed strawberries.
Now, what to do with the remaining three pints of berries?
Thankfully, I know just who to ask.