STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER… IN A JAR!
As summer comes to an end and fall starts to show its colors, I look back at all the fruit that was in abundance just a few weeks ago. Walking through a farmers market or even at the store, Mother Nature showed off a rainbow of colors. I have always been a sucker for a ripe Georgia peach, a basket of red strawberries or a bowl of blueberries. Sometimes fruit would be the only thing I would crave and during the summer, I am sure to fill that craving. With all the different varieties and types of fruit, I feel there is NO excuse for anyone to be lacking fruit in their diets.
We all know that fresh fruit is the best option but sometimes it is not an option. Frozen fruit is next in line as far as nutritional value but can lack texture, firmness and color comparatively. Another option is dried fruit which it does have all the nutrition of fresh but higher in sugar content pound for pound. So this leaves us with canned fruit, same nutrition if packed in juice or water and can be just as refreshing.
Now days we see summer fruit in the grocery store in January. It looks good, but trust me from experience, the flavor is NOT there. I learned a long time ago that if it is not in season and I don’t buy it. A good way to find out if it is in season is to visit your local FARMERS MARKET or you can also ask your local grocer. Back in my grandma’s day, she had to wait until next year to get in fresh fruit that was in season. Her solution was to buy in bulk, at the peak of season and turn it into many different goodies packed neatly in a jar.
Growing up I remember all the jars of strawberry jam, canned peaches, and apple sauce to name a few. She didn’t stop there she also canned pickles, veggies, 3-bean salad and even eggs. It was very common to can your food back in the day for obvious reasons, you had too. Today we DON’T HAVE to can our own food but we should WANT to. When you can your own jams and such, you know exactly what has gone into it. An example would be STRAWBERRY JAM= strawberries, sugar, fruit pectin and water. If you buy ORGANIC items then you even know HOW it was produced.
A lot of people shy away from homemade items and opt for store bought because of convenience only. Luckily, today we have quick versions of old recipes to make it a little more user friendly. Here is a quick recipe for STRAWBERRY FLAME FREEZER JAM. It’s a spinoff of old fashioned strawberry jam that only takes about 20 minutes to prep, uses organic ingredients and keeps up to 1 year in the freezer; Talk about year-round yummy!
I believe we still have time, not all fruit is out of season quite yet. I say buy up as much fresh ripe fruit as you can, go get some jars (I use RECYCLED JARS), set an afternoon aside, start canning and then you too can have strawberry fields forever…in a jar!