I love this time of year, when fruit and vegetables burst forth from the earth. One of my favorite things to do is to capture the rich flavors in homemade jams and sauces. I only learned to can a few years ago from a dear woman, Hanne Sonquist.
Ever since Hanne took the time to teach me (it’s really quite simple – check out this video), it is an annual tradition in our house to make jam from our apricots and persimmons. Our neighbor’s tree is more prolific than our aging one so I trade with them – I get their apricots and give them half the jam.
There are also some awesome berry farms nearby so my family will join me on berry picking adventures throughout the summer. It is one of my favorite things to do with my daughter. We stand there, surrounded by the abundant richness of the earth, as we pick ripe fruit. She gets to learn about where our food comes from and what it takes to grow it — so many children today think that food just materializes in grocery stores!
We share the space with the honeybees who are busy doing their work of pollinizing our food supply. Did you know that at least one third of the food you eat every day involves the pollinating work of the honeybee? We tell them “thank you” while we pick the fruits of their labor.
Of course, we sample as we go and then spend the week eating various fresh berry dishes. We make our own artisanal jams from all organic ingredients, which become our holiday gifts for friends and family. This year, we got fancy and made strawberry marsala thyme jam – yummy! It truly is a wonderful experience that is deeply satisfying.
If you have not yet created a similar summer tradition, I encourage you to consider it. There is nothing like connecting with nature in this way, and it will give you a whole new appreciation for your food.
If you don’t have any of your own fruit trees, you can find folks in your area who have plenty to share or swap, and there are probably organic farms closer than you think as well as farmer’s markets – check out these websites for more information: