4/23/12

Local Seasonal Veggies


I've always been one of those grocery shoppers who buys the produce she wants, when she wants it - apples in May, citrus in June, tomatoes in February.  But recently, for one reason or another, I've become more aware of the impact this creates for our environment and the benefits associated with eating locally grown produce when it's in season.

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The change has been slow and steady.  It started with an interest in the local farmer's market, then JB's mom starting a garden.  I went with a friend to a u-pick blueberry farm and found a neighbor who sells farm-fresh eggs from her home.  For my birthday, my mom bought me a share with a local community supported agriculture (CSA) with Snow's Bend.  Here's how it works:  Snow's Bend Farm offers a certain number of shares at the beginning of the season.  I buy a share, and once a week for the growing season, I get a box of fruits and vegetables directly from the farmer.  I split my share with a friend, and the cost comes to approximately $10 a week.  Half of the share is more than enough veggies for me and JB.  We're only three weeks in, and we've already tried new vegetables and several new recipes.

We've been very pleased with our CSA experience and highly recommend it if you're considering it for yourself.  Check out Local Harvest to find a CSA in your area.  We're eating more fruits and vegetables, and our carbon footprint has become a little smaller.

My favorite part of the CSA box has been strawberries.  I love homemade jam.  The grocery store variety tends to be too sweet, and it's hard to tell if there is actually any fruit in it.  When I came across a recipe for Strawberry Refrigerator Jam, I knew I had to try it.  This jam is wonderful, not overly sweet, and you can see the fruit and taste the flavor of the strawberries.
  
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Strawberry Refrigerator Jam
Ingredients:
1 quart strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup sugar (I used less.)
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Directions:
Set out a bowl with ice water in it and place a smaller bowl inside.  Set aside.  Combine the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.  Simmer until the mixture begins to become syrupy, 10-15 minutes.  To see if the jam has cooked long enough, place 1/2 teaspoon of the jam in the small bowl and let it sit for 30 seconds.  Tip the small bowl to one side.  If the jam runs, return the jam to the skillet and continue to cook 2-5 minutes longer and then test again.  If the jam moves only slightly, it's ready.  Cool the jam to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Source:  America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

1 comments:

Unknown said...

So happy that you're loving your CSA! Robert and I really want to join one out here. I'm going to try your Local Harvest link...

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