An East Nashville Edible Garden

creating an edible garden in the heart of Tennessee

Tag: strawberry

2017 – so far.

How are we nearly halfway through the year already!!! The strawberry season has come and gone, along with the spring salad greens and peas. The blackberries and raspberries are in full swing and the summer squash, tomatoes and peppers are just coming into their own. The beets and beans will survive a little longer, but it’s already time to be thinking about ordering seeds for the next round of sowing in the fall.

 

Blog June 2017

 

There are a few new additions to the garden this year. This is my first year growing zucchini. I’m not a huge fan of summer squash but had the space so wanted to try it.

 

zucchini 2017

 

I also grew some cape gooseberries from seed and they are doing well. Here’s hoping they will pollinate and I’ll get some fruit in the fall. And the flying dragon fruit planted last winter, that will eventually grow into my front edible fence are also growing well.

 

Flying dragon fruit 2017 (a)

 

Another first was celery. I planted some seeds in February and put out three plants in a morning sun spot to see if they would survive throughout the hot TN summer, to give me celery in the fall. So far, they are doing well too. And my biggest success of the year had been parnsips! I planted them last fall, with the carrots, and they were ready to harvest this Spring.

And I’ve  got a few experiments going on too. The Vert Grimpant melons that I grew on the ground last year, are growing up trellises this year to see how they fair. I’ve also got my tomatoes growing up a trellis wall as well, and am growing them single or double stem because of it.

 

Blog June 20172

 

There is nothing quite like figuring out how to grow a new food. You can read all the garden books in the world, but there’s nothing that will teach you like trying. You don’t need a green thumb to be a gardener – you just need to pay attention.

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Strawberry Jam With Honey.

The strawberries were just beginning to turn red when I left for 13 days on a tour up the East Coast. The timing was terrible… or so I thought. Although I did miss some of the harvest (which friends and neighbours took care of!), I came home to a strawberry bed brimming with bright juicy fruit. Time to make jam.

 

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I made my first jam last year and I don’t mind telling you that I thought it would be a lot more work than it actually was, especially since I was preserving in jars, as opposed to keeping it in the freezer. But after a few more tweaks to the recipe this year, I am so happy with this jam that I have no intention of ever changing it. Making strawberry jam has now officially been crossed off my gardening learn-how-to-do list. And even better – there is no refined sugar in it – only honey.

 

STRAWBERRY JAM WITH HONEY

For approximately every 8oz jar of jam you will use:

  • 1 generous cup chopped strawberries
  • 1 tbsp pectin (I used Ball Real Fruit Classic Pectin)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 tbsp lemon juice

You will also need 8oz mason jars and it’s a good idea to buy a jam canning utensil kit so you don’t burn yourself. Ball make a great one for under 10 bucks (which is sold at Target, Walmart, Amazon and Bed, Bath & Beyond.) If you grow your own strawberries, each jar will cost a total of about $1.17 to make.

 

1. In a large bowl mash up the strawberries with a potato masher. A couple of minutes mashing should do it. You don’t want too loose too much texture. I make 8 jars at a time so I’m working with 8 cups.

 

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2. Add 1 tbsp of pectin per cup of strawberries and mix in.

3. In a large pan or pot, bring the berries and pectin to a boil and boil for about a minute, stirring occasionally.

4. Take the pan off the heat and add the honey and lemon juice, and mix well.

5. Put back on the heat and boil for about 10 minutes, again, stirring occasionally. You’ll see foam starting to form around the edge of your pan. Try to skim off as much of that as you can.

 

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6. After the jam has boiled, take it off the heat and leave to cool for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to aid the cooling process. Now it’s ready to be ladled into your jars.

  • Just an extra note here: I made my first batch without leaving it to cool slightly before canning and the fruit rose to the top. As the finished jars were cooling, I shook them occasionally to help it all to settle, but cooling for a few minutes first seemed to help.

 

PREPARING THE JARS

Submerge your jars and lids in boiling water and leave them to boil for 10 minutes. I use an old stock pot for this which will take 8 jars at a time. Lift them out onto a towel until you are ready to fill them with your jam. They should air dry very quickly but try not to let the jars cool completely before filling. They may crack when you plunge them back into the boiling water.

Once the jam is in, wipe away any mess around the top of the jars with a paper towel and put the lids on. Then, put them back into the pot and boil for another 10 mins. Lift them out again and place them back on the towel to cool completely.

You now have jam that will keep until next strawberry season! And once you’ve tasted your home made version, anything from the store is not going to come close.

 

May 20th 2015