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I had mentioned in my previous post that I  joined a local CSA.  On my first visit I picked up Chandler strawberries and rhubarb along with some other beautiful produce.   The strawberries were  luscious, bright red  and so sweet!  I had to stop myself from eating them all before getting a chance to make Strawberry Rhubarb Jam.

I’ve made jams before, with and without the aid of adding pectin.  Although you must let the jam cook for longer, I prefer the method without pectin.  The following recipe makes a small amount of jam (maybe 2 cups), but I am sure you can double or triple the recipe.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

recipe adapted from Recession Depression Therapy

Ingredients:

2 cups Strawberries, hulled and chopped into quarters

1 cup rhubarb, finely diced (about 2 stalks)

2 cups of sugar

Instructions:

1. Mash strawberries and dice rhubarb.

I used a potato masher for the strawberries to release the juices. Cut rhubarb into a small dice.  The rhubarb will dissolve when boiled, so you won’t find any chunks in the end product.

2. Mix strawberries and rhubarb with the sugar in a medium saucepan.

To avoid a sticky mess, it’s best to use a saucepan a little bit bigger than you think you may need.

3. Cook to a rolling boil, stirring frequently.

Watch your temperature to make sure the mixture does not boil over or burn at the bottom.

4. Once you achieve a rolling boil, reduce temperature to keep the mixture at a slow boil.

Cook for approximately 40 minutes, scraping the sides and checking that the bottom is not sticking as it thickens.

5. Check for sheeting

When the jam thickens and  pulls together, remove from heat.

6. Skim any foam on the top of the jam mixture.

The result:  Jam bursting with sweet berry goodness, with a little twist of tartness from the rhubarb.  Scrumptious on my morning toast!

I make small batches and fresh jam does not last long around here, so I store it in a resealable container.  When I get a bit more ambitious I may start canning!

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Sometimes I’m a little slow to jump on ideas I think are fantastic.  I’m not exactly sure why that is…  I like to do my research, mull things over again and again, weigh my options, comparison shop…and then where does that leave me?  Months down the line without pulling the trigger.  Thus is the story of my idea to join a CSA Farm, Community Sponsored Agriculture.

I was first inspired by our friends, John & Liz who told us all about the amazing fruits and veggies they had delivered weekly from a local organic farm.  I had never heard of a CSA, but thought that getting organic  produce direct from the grower sounded great!  I’ve long been a fan of shopping at Farmers Markets to support local farmers and find flavorful, in season produce, and this way I go direct to the farm!  I did  research online at localharvest.org to find out if there were any CSA’s in Orange County, found a farm I was interested in and then… sat on my hands.

Then I read my friend Sarah’s blog OC2Seattle. ( If you haven’t read it – it’s a must she is very witty and loves food as much as I do.)  Sarah had all of these great things to say about how the produce was so much more flavorful than conventionally grown produce you find in supermarkets.  It is true… those tomatoes from Pavilions taste like paper compared to the succulent heirloom varieties you find at your farmers market…and still I waited.

I’m not sure what happened on Saturday, maybe it was the beautiful warm day, extra time on my hands, or the need to get out of my rut, but I decided I would take little A on a drive to San Juan Capistrano to visit South Coast Farms.  I wanted to check out the merchandise before I committed to the rest of the seasons bushels of produce.

Sometimes organic produce can look a little sad…but I was delighted to see vibrant red Chandler strawberries, lush green chard, a few varieties of apples and more.

Succulent Organic Strawberries

It was all so beautiful!  I was inspired – I had to join!  I purchased 3 pints of strawberries, 2 or 3 cucumbers, 3 stalks of rhubarb, and a huge bunch of red swiss chard.  The bill came out to about $20 which isn’t cheap…but the strawberries are some of the best I have ever tasted, they lack that mealy white core and are juicy all the way through.

I’ve chosen to pick up my bushel direct from the farm because it was so refreshing to get out of Newport Beach.  I’m slated to pick up my 1st allotment next week.  Maybe this experience will get me to waste less time before saying yes…

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