Tag Archives: Raspberries

What is at the Farmers Markets this week!

I have been on a(n) embarrassingly long hiatus from blogging – had to take care of my Moms (shout out to Trudy!) after she had a stroke and moved off the farm and up to Bremerton.  She is settled in, doing well and we are all adjusting to the new normal.  Hopefully now all of the mentally composed but unwritten blog posts can come to fruition!

Farmers markets represent a visible and tangible evidence of farming activity in Kitsap.  I was talking to a couple friends the other day about the changes I have seen in the last five years – we have 14 farms offering CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs, there is USDA-inspected meats in almost all of the markets in the county, there are five Grade-A dairies licensed by the WSDA (with at least three more in the process!), we have a county strategic plan for agriculture to help guide policy for farming and farmland preservation, and we have a new agriculture signage ordinance.  We are making progress – but we need your help!  You need to buy local farm products, and a great place to start is at one of Kitsap County’s seven Farmers Markets!  We have seen them blossom and grow over the last few years!  The Kitsap Sun has covered openingschickens, new products and other news!


Photo by Larry Steagall/Kitsap Sun.

Fresh in the markets this week are strawberries, raspberries, asparagus, lettuce and greens, carrots, beets, garlic, radishes, eggs, beef, chicken, pork and lamb, dairy products and value-added baked goods, jams and jellies, and much more!  Take the kids, make friends with a farmer or two, and buy dinner!




Market Dates



Bainbridge Island Summer Farmers Market


9 am –  1 pm

4/13 to 10/26

Bainbridge Island

Town Square at City Hall Park, 280 Madison Avenue

Map It!

Tim O’Brien


Bainbridge Island Winter Farmers Market


9 am –  1 pm

11/2 to 12/21

Bainbridge Island

Town Square at City Hall Park, 280 Madison Avenue

Town Square at City Hall Park

Map It!

Tim O’Brien

Bremerton Sunday Farmers Market


10:30 am – 2:30 pm

5/5 to  10/13


2nd & Washington Street

Map It!

Julia Zander

Bremerton Thursday Farmers Market


4 pm –  7 pm

5/2 to  10/17


1400 Park Avenue

This may be an approximate address
Map It!

Julia Zander


Kingston Farmers Market


9 am –  2 pm

5/4 to  10/12


Corner of Central Avenue & Washington Boulevard

Map It!

Clinton V. Dudley


Port Orchard Farmers Market


9 am –  3 pm

4/6 to  10/12

Port Orchard

Waterfront parking lot near Bay Street & Harrison Avenue

This may be an approximate address
Map It!

KC Pearson


Poulsbo Farmers Market


9 am –  2 pm

4/6 to  12/7


Corner of 7th Avenue NE & NE Iverson Street

Map It!

Brian Simmons


Silverdale Farmers Market


10 am – 4 pm

5/3 to 9/24


In Old Town Silverdale
Between the Boat Launch & Waterfront Park

 Map It!

Monica Phillips


Suquamish Farmers Market


3 pm – 7 pm

5/24 to 10/16


Across Suquamish Way from Suquamish Village Shell and the Suquamish Tribal Government Center

 Map It!

Alan Trunkey




The Dark Days Challenge

The 2012 Dark Days Challenge is upon us.  Shannon, who is more motivated to participate in these sort of things than I, signed us up.  And then today, she had a dinner failure.  So, it falls to me to keep our end up.  Good thing that we had a decent dinner tonight.  Those Sundays when we eat left-overs, chips and salsa and scrambled eggs for dinner don’t really make for a very convincing blog about sustainable, local or organic meals….all winter long.

During late summer and early fall the blog world is full of folks posting about eating local, 100-mile diets, 100-foot meals…ad infinitum.  Now, I am not a complete zealot like the 100-mile folks.  I am not going to run down to Scenic Beach and dip water out of the Hood Canal to evaporate and make sea salt.  We grow and raise about 90% of what we eat and I cook from scratch much of the time – which upon reflection makes me sound sort of Amish which isn’t the case (the bonnet not withstanding) – but let’s just say we are less dependent upon the grocery store than the average family.

Frankly, during that time of year I am too busy canning, freezing, picking, weeding, feeding, milking, and mucking to blog about what we are eating.  I think about blogging a lot while I am doing those things!  But until they develop the technology for me to plug a USB port unto my ear and download all those great blog posts composed in my head it isn’t happening.  The really interesting thing about those days in the garden and nights canning and freezing is that I am doing all the time consuming and hard work associated with warm winter meals.  Beans frozen in August take minutes to heat for dinner in December.  Tomatoes blanched and canned in September make pasta dishes in minutes for mid-week meals – garlic harvested in July is Fettuccine Alfredo when I have  a yen for something rich and creamy.

So, as we kick off the “Dark Days Challenge” I thought it would be interesting to go back in time and take a look at the genesis of tonight’s dinner!

The menu –

  • Pork Chops – the last of the chops from a hog butchered last spring.  We buy piglets from a neighbor, fatten them on extra milk and grain and butcher about twice a year.  We don’t buy any extra meat and eat out of our freezer all the time so we go through a whole hog, half a beef, 20 or so broilers and 10-15 stewing hens a year.
  • Smashed red potatoes – from the garden with fresh cream and salt and pepper.
  • Milk gravy – pan drippings, milk and Shepherd’s Grain Washington grown white flour!
  • Sauerkraut with apples and onions – we had great plans to collaborate on the ‘kraut this summer but the day we were planning on doing it I got side-tracked so Shannon made it.  She jump-started the fermentation with whey from some homemade yogurt and it has a wonderful zing to it.  The King apples were picked at my mom’s house right before Thanksgiving and the onions were from the garden.  I season it with a bit of brown sugar, pepper and caraway and saute until caramelized.  Very tasty.
  • Applesauce – from Mom’s apples.  I typically can 15-20 jars – need to get around to doing that.
  • Pickles – dutch spears made from the abundant cucs we planted last spring.  This is a refrigerator pickle recipe that I got from The Joy of Pickling.  I only made a few because I didn’t know if we would like them.  Need to make more next year!  Sweet, tart and spicy!
  • Green beans – from the garden.
  • Milk – from Ellie
  • Raspberry Juice – from the berry patch

And the best part about this meal?  It was a meal eaten around our family table with my husband and children, we were truly grateful for the bounty of our life, and were able to talk and laugh as we enjoyed the fruits of our labor.  Regardless of whether your food comes from 100 miles or 1000 miles from your home, if you are unable to eat with the people you love, they are dark days indeed!

Are you Hip?

Shannon and I talk to people all over the county and beyond about what we do and everyone has advice for us about what classes we should offer (it is sort of like being pregnant actually!)  After looking at all the requests, and discarding some of the more unusual (do people REALLY want to learn how to make their own shoes??) we put together our summer/fall offering.  In keeping with the national trend toward sustainable lifestyles and looking back at cool skills that are still relevant today, we put together what we think represents a pretty cool offering!

So, grab a gal or guy friend and join the WSU Kitsap Small Farms Team this summer in a  six-week adventure exploring the tricks and techniques to living a more satisfying and sustainable lifestyle!  Whether you want to preserve the best of the berry season with jams and jellies, take your home brewing to the next level, conquer your fear of pressure canning, make creamy fresh cheeses, learn soap-making, or your mission is to preserve the crunchiest pickle, Hip Homesteading has something for you!

Thursday Classes  10 am—1 pm

  • July 7th—Jammin’ ~ Make delicious jams and jellies
  • July 21st— Cheesemaking ~ Fresh cow and goat milk cheeses
  • July 28th—In a Pickle ~ Crisp and crunchy pickles and relishes
  • August 4th— Soap Making ~ Sweet-scented delights for the bath and body
  • August 11th- Under Pressure ~ Pressure canning and preserving low-acid foods

Fieldtrip:  Thursday, July 14th 6pm—9pm ~ Homebrewin’ @ the Slippery Pig Brewery with Brewmaster Dave Lambert

Monday Evening Classes  6pm—9pm

  • July 11th— Cheesemaking ~ Fresh cow and goat milk cheeses
  • July 25th—Jammin’ ~ Make delicious jams and jellies
  • August 1st—In a Pickle ~ Crisp and crunchy pickles and relishes
  • August 15th—Soap Making ~ Sweet-scented delights for the bath and body

All Classes are held at the Silverdale Community Center, except for Homebrewin’ which will be taught at: Slippery Pig Brewery, Finn Hill Rd, Poulsbo WA  98370.   Cost is just $35 per class, and as always 4H and FFA youth are FREE.

Register Online at: http://county.wsu.edu/kitsap/(click on “Calendar”) or by mail: WSU Extension Kitsap Small Farms Team, 345 Sixth Street, Ste. 550, Bremerton, WA 98337. For more information contact: Shannon Harkness at shannon.harkness@wsu.edu or (360) 337-7026.

Strawberry Jam and Euler Circuitry

The beginning of summer vacation certainly has been busy around here!  As my kids said goodbye to another year of school, I resumed classes for the summer session for college.  I am taking classes toward an Ag degree at Oregon State University.  Having been eleven years since completing an Associates degree, I have been pretty careful about the class-load and since Math is not a strong subject for me, I opted to make it my sole summer class.  Turns out, that was a wise choice.  Last week it was Euler and his formulas relating to circuits.  ((Gag))  This math class is a study of everyday math and I had already taken it once while studying in Hawaii.  Math is different in Hawaii, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.  Regardless, it didn’t transfer.

So, here’s me on my little farm running my clutch of little chicks on summer vacation to different activities wondering what in the world is “everyday” about Euler and his circuitry and graphs.  And then it dawned on me…perhaps I already know about Euler, but, I didn’t know that I knew!  Here’s where the farming comes into play…

A few weeks ago, Diane and I wrote about our daily lives living on a farm.  A lot of point A to point B and beyond.  And in order to get the maximum amount done, we have to be pretty efficient with our footsteps.  After all, we are pretty busy ladies. So, as I set out to do chores I think about what needs to happen to set my route.  Now, Euler was made famous for this when he solved a bridge problem (you should look it up, I can’t explain it very well) and companies who use an Euler circuit can save serious money!  So, if I use a  Euler circuit while doing farm chores, it will free up some time and energy to accomplish more important things, like Balsamic Vinegar Strawberry Jam!!!

And that leads me to the real point of my story.  It is finally strawberry time and we are on the cusp of raspberries, too!  Jams and jellies are a great way to explore food preservation and I would love to teach you how to do it!  Don’t worry, we won’t be discussing Euler’s circuitry.  My classes are FAR more interesting than that!  Plus, we will make a batch to share!  So, head on over to the WSU Kitsap Website and sign up for my class THIS Thursday!  This class will be from 10 am to 1 pm and is held at the Silverdale Community Center.  You will also notice that “Jammin” is a class from the Hip Homesteading summer series exploring everything from Jams, Pickles, Soap, Cheeses, Pressure Canning…there’s something for everyone!

If you are looking for local strawberries, Pheasant Fields Farm has them!  We spent an hour in her patch picking strawberries that she will sell at the Silverdale Farmers Market today!  These berries are the smaller more flavorful ones, perfect for a batch of delicious jam!

And as your going about your daily business, give Euler’s Theorum a thought…there just may be some time in your day to make some jam!

Yogurt Tart

The Julie/Julia Project chronicled the adventures of Julie Powell as she attempted to cook her way through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in one year.  I lack the ambition and time to do something like this but I have always loved Julia Child (“bon appetite!”) since my childhood growing up in BC.  TV in BC was grim back in the day.  Two Canadian Channels (plus one independent American channel when you were lucky!) that only broadcast in the morning (think early PBS) and after 4:00pm.  When other kids were watching “Bewitched” all I had was the test pattern.   Julia and the Galloping Gourmet were staples of morning programming, along with Mr Dressup.  I can remember being inspired by her enthusiasm for life and the “exotic” recipes she was making.  We lived a nice rural, meat-and-potatoes life and the notion of an “Omelet Party” was so far out of the realm of my experience, so cosmopolitan, as to be unbelievable.  The fact that many of them were “French” also made them vaguely suspicious and seditious because the tension between Quebec and the rest of Canada pervaded much of my childhood as well.  Like many formative experiences, you had to be there…anyhow…back to Julia.

I was junkin’ and found a copy of “Baking with Julia” which is based on the PBS series of the same name about the same time as Julie and Julia hit the big screens.  It wasn’t quite the same but I was inspired to buy it anyhow.  It contains lots of wonderful recipes – and my current favorite is her Yogurt Tart.  The narrative with the recipe signs the praises of the delicate vanilla flavor and tasty custard.  Now that I have to deal with four gallons of milk a day to deal with I am making lots of yogurt and cheese.  I strain the yogurt and make this recipe with a Greek-style yogurt which results in a dense cheesecake-y custard.  I also omit the added fruit, preferring to top with berries or fruit and make it with a graham cracker crust.  It is a the perfect dessert for a spring or summer meal (assuming the summer EVER arrives for us!)

  • pie dough, well chilled ( or pastry, enough to line a 9″ round cake pan or 9″ round springform pan, at least 1 1/2″ deep
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups plain nonfat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, raspberries, mixed berries, sliced peaches, plums, nectarines
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  • Directions

  • Working on a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12″ circle 1/8 to 1/4″ thick; Fit into the pan, pressing against bottom and up the sides; Trim to 1/2″ and crimp edges; Chill about 30 minute.
  • Fit a round of parchment or wax paper or aluminum foil into bottom of the crust, fill with dried beans, rice or pie weights; Blind bake crust 20-25 minutes in a 400* oven, until set and lightly browned.
  • Remove weights and liner; Cool to room temperature on a rack and lower oven to 325*.
  • Beat the eggs and sugar together until they thicken slightly and turn pale, 2-3 minutes.
  • Fold in yogurt and vanilla, mix just until blended.
  • Gradually add the flour through a sifter, folding it in gently.
  • Pour the yogurt filling into the cooled tart shell, smoothing the top; the filling will only come about 2/3’s of the way to the top.
  • Scatter the fruit over the top of the tart; it will push the filling to the top of the crust.
  • Sprinkle with chopped nuts around the edge of the tart.
  • Place tart on jelly roll pan to catch drips and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until top is golden
  • Transfer to rack and cool to room temperature.
  • Unmold tart; Serve at room temperature, or chilled if desired; sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.
  • Serve the same day as baked; cover and refrigerate. 1 1/2 times the recipe makes enough for a 9×13 pan.  Perfect for a potluck!

    Cows are like potato chips…

    … you can’t have just one!

    Eleanor is the newest edition to our little farm family.  She is a 4 year old registered Jersey and joins Alexis (aka The Princess Cow) and her son, the Count (born 8-9-10) in the pasture.  She is small for a Jersey but she is milking 4 gallons a day which is plenty for the house, the hogs and some cheese!  Her temperament is affectionate and willing, which I can assure you isn’t always the case with cows, and even though she wasn’t halter broken she has learned to lead in record time.

    Alexis, for all her wonderful attributes, has a couple of problems.  She gets milk fever and ketosis at calving and we almost lost her last year.  As a result to the rough start to her last lactation she has been really hard to breed back and get in calf.  She also tends to have a serious drop in production late in lactation so she is only giving about 2 gallons a day.  Right now the calf takes most of that.  But she is a love bug and I REALLY like her!

    When the new cow arrived I anticipated that there would be a bit of a power struggle in the pasture to see who was going to be boss cow, but much to my surprise it wasn’t Alexis that was the fighter but the Count.  He and Ellie tussled around the pasture for a couple of hours off and on before settling down.  She did prevail in that one, but they did so much running around I almost expected to see whipped cream at the next milking!  Alexis on the other hand merely bobbed her head at Ellie.   I don’t speak bovine, but it was a rather curt exchange and apparently the message was received that Alexis was the BOSS.

    Before you think that Ellie has a problem with this please note – cows are not deep thinking beasts.  They behave instinctively and life is best when they know exactly what is supposed to happen and where they need to go.  That is why they follow the lead cow to pasture and back again and the boss cow gets first taste of the hay.  Once Ellie knew her place in the herd she settled down, ate her fill and promptly laid down to chew her cud.  The Count is now hopelessly in love with her and follows her around and bawls pathetically when she leaves to go and be milked.

    Alexis is the one with the PROBLEM.  She is used to being the first to get a pat and scratch, getting first crack at the grain in the milking area and being the favorite in the pasture.  When I went out to take the pictures for this blog post she wouldn’t even look at me and this morning when I was out in the barn area she turned her back on me and pooped (a strong message of derision from a cow!)  I am pretty sure she will forgive me eventually but right now she isn’t a happy girl!

    At this point I will just have to work and curry favor by bringing her treats of apples and carrots and get back in her good graces.

    In other farm news it might be warm enough to start seeing things coming up in the garden this week.  Everything is so late with the cool weather – even the asparagus is just now getting going – though it took a hit when the passive aggressive lawn mowing teenager decided to mow that particular patch of the yard.  I finally got the raspberries trimmed and tied up.  Every year I promise myself that I won’t procrastinate the task – and every year I am late getting it done and break off a bunch of the fruiting stems in the process.  On the other hand, the patch already produces more berries that I know what to do with so I suppose I shouldn’t stress it.  The weather has been warm enough this weekend for the native pollinators to buzz around the fruit trees.  I am excited about that because I hadn’t seem much action from them this year.  Summer can’t get here soon enough for me!

    I Love Summer!

    Dinner tonight was amazing – not just because it was ALL from here – but because the flavors were so bright and the food was so fresh!  It was nothing special or fancy – hamburgers, new potatoes with butter, green salad, cucumbers in a bit of white vinegar and grilled zucchini.  It is always challenging to decide what vegetable with dinner during the winter – but during the summer the challenge is deciding which veggie to leave out!   I suppose that is what I love MOST about summer.

    The raspberry harvest is winding down.  Tonight I am making a raspberry – yogurt tart from a recipe I found in the “Baking with Julia (Child)” cookbook that I picked up at the St. Vincent de Paul a couple of weeks ago.  Don’t worry – I am not launching into a Julie and Julia thing – but the woman (Julia that is!) was a marvel and we should all be very grateful that she found her muse in food!  The biggest problem with the success of the movie is that now I will NEVER be able to find her classic book at the thrift stores! 

    This recipe would be good with any type of berry – and Julia offers that it could also be baked without the berries and served with the berries sprinkled on top.  I am beginning to think that would be a better choice because there is so much moisture in the berries that the pie took forever to bake and the center was rather damp and gooey. 

    Raspberry Yogurt Tart

    • 1 – 9′ pie crust
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 cups plain yogurt (I used greek style that I made the other day)
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • 3/4 cup sifted flour
    • 1 1/2 cup raspberries (blackberries, cherries, strawberrries…you get the idea!)

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake pie crust until slightly browned.

    Meanwhile – beat eggs and sugar until sugar is dissolved.  Add yoghurt and vanilla and stir until blended.  Fold in flour, pour into pie shell, top with berries and turn oven down to 325 degrees.  Bake about 1 hour or until the center of the pie is set. 

    Cool before serving

    I haven’t been doing much baking this summer but was inspired by my friend Margo and her “52 Weeks of Pies” project.  If she can make pies EVERY week the least that I can do is make ONE pie.  One thing that makes pies quick and easy for me is that I make up a large batch of pie crust mix and put it in a ziplock and toss it in the freezer.  When I need to put out a pie I just dump a couple cups in a bowl, add ice water until it comes together, roll it out and put the filling in.  My pie crust mix is my mom’s recipe and is really simple, but rather old-fashioned. 

    Trudy’s Pie Crust

    • 1 box SoftasSilk Cake Flour
    • 1 # lard 
    • 1 Tbsp salt

    Blend lard into flour and salt until it resembles corn meal and the fat is the size of small peas.  Will keep for several months in the freezer.  To make a 9″ pie crust use 2 cups of mix and add ice water 2-3 Tbsp at a time until it comes together.  I mix it with a fork until it forms a ball.  Roll out on a floured board.  Do not overwork the dough!  For me this is a never-fail recipe for flakey, tender crust.  I have tried butter crusts with limited success.  But I usually don’t tell people it is made with lard – when you confess to folks that the reason your pie crust is so flakey is because you use lard they look at you like you are also making your own shoes!


    It has been a while since I posted – mainly because I have had family visiting for the past couple of weeks.  Their vacation became my staycation.  We had fun, picked lots of beans and enjoyed the time reconnecting.

    What is hot?

    A few weeks ago, during the hot spell, things got pretty crispy.  Like most farmers and gardeners I found it difficult to keep enough water on things.  The cucs stalled, the carefully nurtured second seeding of lettuce and spinach bolted straight out of the ground and the raspberries shrivelled on the bush.  About the only thing that seemed to thrive were the SLUGS!  I have never had an infestation this bad.  They are getting about 20% of the tomatoes right now and a significant number of the cucs and zucs.

    What is done for the year:

    • raspberries
    • beans for the freezer
    • strawberries
    • garlic

    What’s Blooming Now?

    Dahlias!  Finally they are popping out.  Every time I drive by the Silverdale Post Office and see the Dahlia Society demonstration plot blooming like crazy I lamented that my flowers were so late this year (mainly because I was late getting them in!)   Now they are coming out like crazy.  I didn’t label them as I was planting them (Memo to self: Do that next year) so all of the blooms are a total surprise!  I love dahlias because they seem to grow just about anywhere, they bloom like crazy until frost, and the deer don’t bother them! 

    Other things that are coming on gangbusters:

    • sweet corn
    • zucs
    • pickling cucs
    • tomatoes
    • peaches
    • blueberries
    • plums
    • beets
    • red potatoes

    The cow has had a visit from the bull this month and hopefully she is in calf.  Farmer George is coming for the hogs next week and we will be butchering chickens with the neighbors then as well. 

    The rain has provided a momentary respite from the heat and the need to constantly switch water from one section of the garden to another.  I have also had the chance to get all the fall veggies transplanted.  I will have to wait and see how many cabbage and broccoli I end up with.  Again, I meant to label the seed trays and before I got around to it one of the children moved them around.   We dug all of the red potatoes to make room for them and they are taking off!


    The children’s book Jamberry riffs, “Raspberry, Jazzberry, Razzmatazzberry, Berryband, Merryband, Jamming in Berryland!”   Lately, our house has been  “Jamberry” central as I processed thirty-some-odd pints of strawberry jam over the last couple of weeks.   This is just the beginning as I make lots of jam  – strawberry, raspberry, peach, peach-orange-pineapple, strawberry-rhubarb – and we haven’t even gotten to the butters yet!  

    We do lots of PBJ and it is a quick and easy gift to toss in a basket with a loaf of warm bread.  Jam is also the perfect way to flavor plain yoghurt – add some homemade granola for a quick and yummy breakfast or after school snack!

    A couple of friends expressed interest in learning to make jam so I sent out an shout to the gals at church to come over to my house and learn the basics of freezer and cooked jams – expecting a couple people.  By the time I had 8 replies in the inbox I decided to regroup.  I picked a couple buckets of berries, scrounged around for some plastic containers, rounded up a couple of teens to keep an eye on the toddlers in the gym while we worked in the kitchen and we started jammin’! 

    We did two types of strawberry freezer jam and then I did a quick demo of an old family favorite, “Jiffy Berry Jam.”   For the freezer jam I demo-ed the traditional, sugar-laiden, but never-fail fruit pectin recipe found in Sure-Jell .  With a jaw-dropping 4 cups of sugar for 2 cups of crushed berries, it is sure-to-please the under 10 set and a tablespoon contains enough sweetener to handily flavor a cup of plain yoghurt.  However, it could also put you in a diabetic coma!   This is the jam of my childhood – packaged in an odd assortment of cottage cheese and cool whip containers saved through the years it graced the breakfast table every morning.  The recipe, found on the insert inside the box, is simple, quick (once in the groove one can easily knock this out in less than 30 minutes) and bullet-proof. 

    The second batch was made with Ball Simple Creations No-Cook Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin which uses 1 1/2 cup of sugar and 4 cups of crushed berries and unlike Sure-Jell which requires you to cook the pectin, only needs to be stirred for three minutes.  Resulting in a slightly softer set jam, with a more natural fruit taste, this version of freezer jam is a winner in my book.  Quick, easy, and lighter on the sugar!

    There are several other brands of freezer jam pectin on the market – one made by Certo is similar to Sure-Jell but also requires the addition of corn syrup.  This has never been a favorite of mine because, recent demonization of corn syrup aside, it represented an extra bit of fiddling around with an ingredient that I inevitably discovered that I was almost out of after I started the process of making the jam.  Liquid pectin, sold in pouches, allows you to skip the step of cooking the pectin, but like Sure-Jell requires 4 cups sugar.   All the varieties of pectin yield about 5 cups jam and cost about $2-3 per batch depending on whether you get a bargain on the pectin or not.

    My final batch was Jiffy Berry Jam – a no-added pectin recipe that comes from my maternal grandmother.  My mother always used this recipe for raspberry, blackberry and marion berry jam and while it doesn’t quite represent the instant gratification of the no-cook pectin jam it is the tops for taste!  A few years ago my mother and I were cleaning out some boxes left over from my grandmother’s estate and we came across the remains of her recipe cards, including this jam recipe, mixed with some old papers and strewn in the bottom of a box.  My mom, having her own box of tried and true’s, was ready to toss the entire mess when I jumped in and rescued them.  She died when I was a teenager so my relationship with grandma hadn’t matured and I miss the opportunity to ask her about the challenges she faced growing up during the depression.    Grandma didn’t keep a journal, we don’t have bundles of old letters, so all that remains are a few memories, stories passed down from my mother, and notes on some stained 3×5 cards like “needs more salt” or “good with pork”.  Growing up in a meat and potatoes household, the ethnic roots in the recipes were a bit of a revelation as well.  Eastern European, Northern Italian and German recipes, reflective of the diverse immigrant community in which my grandfather lived, apparently graced their table on a regular basis.  When I asked Mom why we never ate Italian-style “Meat Gravy” with pasta growing up she simply replied, “Your dad wanted pot-roast and potatoes.”  Here is the recipe – in the hand of Mildred Edna Calnan Toman.


    I use a hand-held mixer to beat the hot sugar and berry mixture.   It does splash a bit so I cut a lid-sized piece of cardboard out of the bottom of a pizza box and cut a hole in it for the beaters to pass through.  This cuts down on the splatter and prevents the steam coming off the hot berries from cooking your fingers in the process.


    The seeds in raspberries and blackberries are rich in pectin and the beating liberates it and gives you a firm set jam.  You can either put the hot jam  into hot jars and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes or let the jam cool slightly, put into plastic containers and freeze it.  Alternatively, you can just put it in the fridge and eat warm bread and jam for every meal for the next week – which isn’t so bad either!