Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Putting Food By

Strawberries, currants and cherries, oh my! At this time of year, we're blessed with more fruit than we can eat, so we engage in a process our great-grandmothers would have called "putting food by." Canning food is not difficult and it allows us to preserve food for use over the winter months without the extra energy required for refrigeration and freezing.

In the last couple of weeks I've canned rhubarb jam, apricot jam, balsamic strawberry jam, and cherry jam; also peach rum sauce, currant sauce and rhubarb sauce.

A few years ago I asked my friend Diana how she made all her jams and preserves. "I just buy a package of Sure-Jell and follow the directions," she replied. Her off-hand manner put me at ease. I bought a book on home preserving and a basic water canner at the farm supply store. Then I got to work. 

At first I was a little overwhelmed with getting all the steps right. But after a few batches of jam, I began to realize that it was a simple pattern to follow. Clean and slice fruit, heat it with pectin and lemon juice, add sugar and boil for a minute or two. Pour hot jam into hot canning jars and process in the water bath.

The work is sometimes hot and tedious. It takes hours to pick all those tiny currants off the vine! I recommend good music and a large fan. Allow yourself to get into the zen of food preparation. Soon your pantry will be filled with chemical-free fruits for year-round pleasure.

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