Texas Spring Strawberry Jam

With a week of warm weather in the low eighties and a couple of nice rain showers, my last trip to the farmers market in the Austin area before heading north to Michigan promised to be productive. After an early walk with the pups, I managed to get to the Cedar Park Farmers Market soon after opening time. What a day! Although the sky was overcast, rain was not in the forecast. So with a great growing week and good weather for the market all of the regular vendors were at the market loaded with crops. The strawberries were abundant, along with artichokes, zucchini, tomatoes and even kohlrabi which I haven’t seen in the grocery stores in weeks. Today, for me, it was all about the strawberries. I knew I had to make some strawberry jam this spring.

strawberries

Several years ago, I decided I needed to try making strawberry jam. For some reason, in my mind, making jams and jellies or really anything that goes in a jar had to be really difficult. Off I went to the store to buy the jars I needed to make the jam. And the jars sat in my pantry. We packed up and moved to Austin. The jars came along. And the jars sat in my pantry. Finally, last summer when I was in Interlochen, I decided to make apple butter. Apparently, having my own fruit tree was the motivation I needed to get going. Apples are abundant in north Michigan and our sad little tree was no exception. Well, I made the apple butter. It tasted good but had a rather unappealing color. Next, it was peaches. More jam and more success. Finally, this spring I got those long neglected jars out of the pantry and now have strawberry jam!

It turns out what had intimidated my for so long was really no big deal. All through the winter I went back to Interlochen every time I spread some of that apple butter on my toast. The peach jam brings back the late summer days of eating peaches morning, noon and night. This strawberry jam will put me back in spring when we head north and go back to those chilly days waiting for the warmth to return. Continue reading

Welcome to Food. Family. Home.

To celebrate the wonderful farmers market fresh foods, cooking for family and friends and enjoying life at home, I am going to focus on cooking with farm fresh foods, spending time with my family and the quiet life at home. My summer life in Grand Traverse County Michigan is centered around the amazing foods from the farmers markets and the local wineries and a couple of cideries for good measure. After twenty plus years in Texas-first Dallas and the last few years in Austin, I am looking forward to making Raleigh, North Carolina my new home.

Saturday mornings I can be found at the Sara Hardy Farmer’s Market in Traverse City in the summer and fall. During the winter and spring I will be at the  Cary or Raleigh North Carolina farmers market. Each week I am amazed at the selection of produce offered by the local farmers. Along with the farmers, there are various sweet treats on offer from fresh baked breads to delicate croissants to honey and maple syrup. It is fun to talk to the vendors and other shoppers to get all sorts of ideas for using these beautiful products from the ordinary to the less known.