Canning Season Begins

Early Glow Strawberries

Early Glow Strawberries

Yesterday was the official start of canning season.  Eight days ago, on my visit to the Tremont Farmers’ Market, I spied some Early Glow Strawberries at the Woolf Farms stand.  When I asked whether or not they would have them for next week (i.e. last night), she made no promises.  “Get here early if you want them.  They go fast!”  Yesterday I walked up right at 4:00pm when the market opened and got my eight quarts set aside pronto.  They were absolutely gorgeous and everso fragile.  The aroma was simply amazing!  I picked up a few more items,  swung back around for my berries and made my way home to the canning kitchen.

Half-pint Jars, Dome Lids and Bands, Boiling Away

I had already set things up beforehand.  I had the jars in the dishwasher, getting washed and sanitized.  I had my pots of water boiling on the stove (one for jars, one for lids).  My canning kettle was on the stove, ready to receive the fruit. I had all of my implements set out:  wooden spoon, paring knife, colander, potato masher for the fruit, tongs, jar lifter, canning funnel,  measuring cups, dome lids and bands, hot pads, towels, damp dishcloth.  The sugar was at the ready, as well as the liquid pectin.  All I needed to add was the fruit.  I set to work and it went quickly.  Within 90 minutes I was looking at 17 jars of ruby red deliciousness.

Strawberry Sauce on the Stove

Strawberry Sauce on the Stove

Canning season is one of my favorite times of the “kitchen year.”  Capturing the bounty of summer is one of the most satisfying aspects of knowing how to cook.  Making things taste really good is an added bonus!  You can buy a dozen kinds of strawberry jam in any given grocery store, but rarely are they made with local, fresh (not frozen) fruit.  Almost all of them would also be cooked much more thoroughly than how I prepare my jam.  I love to put together unusual pickling combinations.  I have some olde-fashioned recipes and some things that you just can’t find anywhere else.  It’s a pleasure to put things up.  In the fall, when my larder is full, I feel positively rich!

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