Farmers’ markets are cropping up everywhere these days, largely due to an increased desire to support local producers and businesses, and connect with the source of our food.
Some old markets are new again, established ones are growing, and neighborhoods are finding spaces to gather vendors and provide a meeting place for neighbors one night a week. Small towns across Alberta have their own markets, providing another reason to hit the road for a day trip or a staycation - there’s nothing like driving through Alberta farmland, then meeting some of the farmers and producers, and trying their wares at a small town market.
With over 100 approved farmers’ markets and almost 3,000 vendors Alberta-wide, there’s always something delicious to be found, whichever market you visit. For a list of markets, U-picks and other places to find the best of the harvest, visit Travel Alberta’s fancy new website, travelalberta.com.
If you’ve gone out and picked your own or become so enamored with the fresh fruit that came into its own early this year, here’s a simple multi-berry jam recipe that can be made using some peaches and rhubarb, too, if you like. Any juicy berry or stone fruit works well here. If processing in a hot water bath makes you nervous, freeze any you won’t eat within a month; or give any extra away to friends or neighbors.
There’s no need to take over your kitchen with cases of fruit and enormous pots; small batch preserving is where it’s at - you can make just enough to provide your family with homemade jam for a few months. Adapted from The Canning Kitchen: 101 Simple Small Batch Recipes by Amy Bronee (Penguin).
4 to 5 cups sugar In a medium pot, bring the berries to a simmer with the pectin, mashing with a potato masher or spoon. Boil for a minute, and then add the sugar. Bring back up to a boil and cook hard for a few minutes. Remove from the heat.
Once the mixture has cooled slightly, skim off any foam that has risen to the surface. Divide into sterilized
(I just put them through the dishwasher) jars and seal.
If you like, process the jars in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. Otherwise, store in the fridge for up to a month or freeze. (Be careful when freezing glass jars - the jam could expand, breaking the glass.) Makes about 5 cups.
Julie is a best-selling cookbook author, food writer, cooking instructor, and the food and nutrition columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio. For more information and to subscribe to Julie’s ‘Free Lunch,’ delicious deliveries right to your inbox, visit dinnerwithjulie.com.
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