Backyard Orchard News
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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...
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!