Sunday, May 31, 2015

Rhubarb and Strawberries! Oh My!

Yup, the season for picking fresh wonderful things and preserving them has begun! Right now we have rhubarb, strawberries, carrots, snow peas, beets and greens all ready for harvesting.

This means for me and many of my friends that our weekends will rarely be spent to ourselves. Started this weekend off with rhubarb and picking strawberries. YUM.

If you go out to do u-pick berries, get to know the farm, check out the fields and see how the berries look and taste before picking! While a field with lots of weeds in it is ok, it is more like a treasure hunt to find the berries hiding. If the field is getting enough water, you'll find nice juicy berries of good size. Of course a more tended to field makes picking a lot easier, but either way, as long as you go picking with a friend or friends, you'll have fun. And it is easy to pick way more than you think.

I thought I wanted about 10-15 lbs of berries, yeah, I got carried away, picked almost 20 lbs. Still good though! They freeze very well and then you have them for all sorts of other recipes as you go through the season!

Today I spent making goodies outside of plain jam or jelly. I'll share the recipes here. :)

First up..... a different jam.... heavenly!

Strawberry Roasted NM Green Chili Jam (adapted from NM State Agriculture dept)
(makes 10, 1/2 pints)

4 to 5 cups of fresh strawberries
2-3 cups roasted and peeled Green anaheim chilies, chopped
6 Tbl powdered pectin (1.75 oz)
1 cup of water
1 Tbl lemon juice, or lime
6 cups sugar
2 Tbl red chili powder

Put berries in a large stockpot and mash, add green chili, pectin, water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil  over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. When boiling, add the sugar all at once and return to a hard boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Ladle into hot sterile jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims and seal with hot lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Allow the jars to cool for 24 hours and check the seals.

And now for something else different! Did you ever consider roasting your strawberries? If not, I'd highly recommend it! Yummmmm....... And I bet this recipe would be good with grilled peaches in place of the strawberries.....

Roasted Strawberry Barbecue Sauce
(makes 3 and 1/2 pints)

5 Cups strawberries, hulled and if large, cut in half
1 small can of tomato paste
1, 4oz can tomato sauce
3 Tbl maple syrup
1 cup sugar
2 Tbl of strawberry (or other berry) jam or preserves
2 Tbl balsamic vinegar
2 Tbl gluten-free soy sauce
5-6 chipotles en adobo with 1 Tbl of sauce (chop the chilies)
1 Tbl garlic powder
1 Tbl ginger powder
2 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbl dijon mustard
1 Tbl dried cilantro
3 -5 Tbl red chili powder (depending on your liking for heat)
1 Tbl mesquite seasoning (from Costco)
Juice of 1 lime
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Place the strawberries on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil (you want all the  juices) and roast at 425 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.

Add all remaining ingredients to a large stockpot and bring to a simmer. Add the roasted strawberries and puree using an immersion blender. Simmer for 15 minutes stirring constantly. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Ladle into hot sterile jars, wipe rims and seal. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove and let jars cool for 24 hours, then check the seals. 

If you don't want to can the half pint, just let it cool and use for your barbecue! YUM.

Have fun! And I'll try to  keep up with all the things I make this year..... Well I did say try!

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