Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Strawberry Jam Canning Workshop (6/1/10)
Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who came to the canning workshop and helped make it a success!
Eleven people came (a stunning jump from the four who came to the natural cleaning methods workshop last September, although that event was fun too!) It was nice to see a mix of friends from various foodmaking and collective groups, and also some new faces as well.
I was a little frantic at first because I only hulled about six pounds of strawberries before I ran out of time, but it actually worked out well to have people help with hulling the remaining berries as I put the finishing touches on the workshop setup and waited a few extra minutes for everyone to arrive. There's nothing like preparing food around a common table to bring people together, so it turned into a good ice-breaker activity.
For the first part of the workshop, we talked a little bit about the differences between water bath canning and pressure canning, and I set out a show and tell with some canning books and equipment. It was nice to use the USDA canning recipe as a jumping-off point to talk about canning terms like hot pack vs. raw pack. I kind of felt like we had to speed through the information session so we could get into the kitchen and start cooking!
The recipe turned out a little more like strawberry syrup than jam, but no one seemed to mind too much. I was a little worried about over-mashing the berries and burning the jam, so I think I erred on the side of under-cooking the jam and not mashing the berries enough.
After the workshop was over I remembered that I brought my thermometer with me and probably should just have checked the temperature of the liquid!
The end result was this syrup with a top layer of floating berries (as seen above.) Still plenty delicious though, and will make a great topping for yogurt, ice cream, or pancakes. I'm thinking about making strawberry lemonade or some kind of mixed drink with mine. Yum!
Can't wait to break out some strawberry lemonade at a barbeque in late August when strawberry season is long gone. Or give these as gift in December for a sweet winter-time treat that tastes like summer.
And seriously, thanks again to everyone who expressed interest in the workshop and who came. You all really boosted my confidence and I hope to have a pickle workshop soon!
Posted by AlizaEss