I am a brand new member of the Southside CSA this season! After participating in CSAs in other neighborhoods with my boyfriend, we were delighted to find a CSA close to our new home on the south side. We’ve been picking up a half share of berries, vegetables, and soon fruit and we are also getting chicken. We’ve been making lots of delicious recipes from our haul including strawberry shortcake and salmon with asparagus in parchment.
I’m really excited by the small batch of strawberry jam I made last week. We’ve already gone through half of the jar. Here’s a recipe, it’s ridiculously simple!
Strawberry Jamyields 1 pint
- 3 cups chopped strawberries
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons of xanthan gum (xanthan gum is a gluten free emulsifier and thickener found in most cooking stores – I suppose you could also use pectin but I happened to have this on hand!)
- juice of 1/2 lemonMix strawberries with sugar and xanthan gum and stir until the strawberries are juicy. Transfer the mixture to a sauce pan. Simmer over medium high heat for 12 minutes, until it’s thick and, well, jammy. Transfer to a jar. From here you can process it in a water bath or just eat it within 3-4 weeks and store in the refrigerator.
We’ve also reduced some strawberries down with a little bit of sugar and some basil leaves and strained into syrup. We’ve been enjoying that over seltzer for a little fresh strawberry-basil soda! Roasting chicken has been one of my favorite things to do for a while now. I save vegetable peels, herb stems, and onion skins in the freezer and empty them all into a big pot with the bones to make stock every week or so. I feel like I’m wasting a lot less in the kitchen saving these perfectly good “scraps” and I get a free pint of stock out of things that I already have in the house!
After last week’s pick up (our first time picking up veg this season), I’ve been thinking more and more about finding proper bags to pack everything into. I forgot just how much stuff we’d be getting so I felt a little unprepared. So I’ve been thinking about making a few different bags on my own so that I’ve got plenty of room for next week’s pick up. I’m a knitter and DIY blogger so I try to relate everything I do back to crafting. And I think that making is a big part of the CSA community. I can only assume that many of you involved are crafty in one way or another and people that care about where their food comes from care about the origins of other aspects of their lives.
When participating in my last CSA, I was always running out of bags. Bringing home pounds of fresh vegetables was exhilarating but often ended up being a mess. While I’ve certainly made a big investment in tote bags and tupperwares, I’m guilty of throwing out a few too many ziploc bags. I love the idea of sewing little cotton drawstring bags for garlic scapes or cherries that I can throw into my crisper and then into the laundry when they get dirty. (Like these! http://www.purlbee.com/the-purl-bee/2009/3/15/easy-drawstring-bag.html) And I would love to carry a knitted, cotton market bag (I like to call them Russian grandma bags) filled with fresh apples or zucchini home from my pick up! (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/market-bag) I also have some mesh drawstring bags that I’d love to replicate that won’t keep the moisture trapped against the vegetables.
I’m so excited to make my CSA experience even more sustainable. I can’t wait to see what vegetables are next!
(ps – thanks to sarah & jonathan for the great post. sorry i have been so slacking in getting it posted!!- ryan)