Backyard Orchard News
We're really lucky here in Los Angeles County. Most farmers markets across the country only recently opened for business for the year, running on a tight seasonal harvest schedule. Here in LA? We harvest year-round and our farmers markets are open from January to December.
"Putting up" is a constant activity here - pickling Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and cabbage in December; hot packing carrots and beets at their peak flavor in January; freezing persimmon puree and juicing pomegranates in November; and let's not forget all the winter citrus heading into marmalades, getting juiced, or flavoring myriad liqueurs and beers.
That said, things do tend to pick up a bit when May rolls into view. The first of the stone fruits - sour plums and cherries - hit the tables in mid-May. And let's not forget mulberries, though how could we when so many trees dot our neighborhoods, sometimes providing a free harvest. And now, we're just starting to see peaches and plums. It's going to be a busy summer. The colder-than-usual winter we had this year gave all the stone fruit trees plenty of rest time and now are producing some record setting fruit harvests.
To get you started, here's a super simple recipe from The National Center for Home Food Preservation. Happy summer!
Plum Jam (without added pectin)
- 2 quarts chopped tart plums (about 4 pounds)
- 6 cups sugar
- 1½ cup water
- ¼ cup lemon juice
Yield: About 8 half-pint jars
Procedure: Sterilize canning jars. Combine all ingredients; bring slowly to boiling, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly to, or almost to, the jellying point (which is 8°F above the boiling point of water, or 220°F at sea level). Stir constantly to prevent sticking or burning. (See Testing Jelly Without Added Pectin.)
Pour hot jam into hot, sterile jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner - five minutes if you are at 0-1000 feet, 10 for 1001-6000 feet./h2>/span>/span>/h2>
"Chantilly lace, have a pretty face..."When Jerry Lee Lewis belted out those lyrics in his No. 1...
Copper eyes of a green lacewing glow in the late afternoon sun. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
With just two weeks until the first 2011 Master Food Preserver class for LA County graduates, it seemed time to get our blog up and running at ucanr.org (don't you just love that url? ucanr? mecanr? theycanr?)
These past several weeks have been challenging, fun, educational, and fulfilling. But graduation is only the beginning. With new name badges and a slew of reference materials in tow, our MFP class will be going out into LA County and educating the public about safe home food preservation techniques, answering questions, and providing information about local resources.
And we're gearing up to offer the next Master Food Preserver class! We'll be announcing more detailed info about that very soon.
In the meantime, if you're in Los Angeles County and have questions about home food preservation, keep tabs on us here or visit our Facebook page. If you're interested in having a Master Food Preserver come to your farmers market or community event, please contact UCCE Nutrition, Family & Consumer Sciences Advisor Brenda Roche at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More to come! Stay tuned!
Exciting news! Scientists based at the University of California, San Francisco, have discovered...
Honey bee nectaring on lavender. A UCSF team just discovered four new honey bee viruses. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Insect virus researcher Michelle Flenniken, the Haagen-Dazs Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Davis, explains a bee colony. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A group of farmers from Tongyeong, South Korea, visited the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center today to learn about the scope of research activities under way at the facility.
The visit was arranged by the City of Reedley, situated 4 miles east of Kearney. Reedley and Tongyeong are sister cities.
The visiting farmers produce a diversity of crops in South Korea, including citrus, strawberries, orchids, kiwis, mangos and figs. At Kearney, they toured the post harvest facility, research plots and the greenhouse. This afternoon and tomorrow they will visit local farms and packing houses.
The Korean farmers showed particular interest in UC's Navel and Valencia Export to Korea (NAVEK) program. In 2004, Korea rejected incoming citrus from California when inspectors detected fruit infected with Septoria spot, which is caused by a pest that has not been reported in Korea. UC scientists developed a fruit certification program to ensure that fruit with Septoria spot isn't shipped to Korea.
The Korean farmers' week long trip to the United States will not be all business. They plan to take time to visit the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and Las Vegas, Nev., according to their guide, Sonny Er.