One of the things I have been enjoying are the plants that we have received. It allows me to place them into pots and have an herb garden right by my back door near my kitchen. This way fresh herbs are only a pinch away. For those of you who many not be familiar with cooking with fresh herbs, there is nothing better! So if you get the chance to find your favorite herbs in a local market try some fresh herbs instead of jarred dried ones. The taste is distinctly different and adds a color and freshness to even the simplest of dishes.
My children and I also went strawberry picking at the farm this week while the strawberries are at the peek of sweetness. We now have enough strawberries that we will be baking a pie later today as well as making some jam. Below is the recipe we plan to use for our jam. It's simple yet very tastey. I was given this recipe from a dear friend who had brought a jar of this to my home recently and we just couldn't get enough of it. I believe she adapted it from an Ina Garten recipe many years ago.
Easy Strawberry Jam
- 3 pints of fresh strawberries
- 3 cups of superfine sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur (we recommend Grand Marnier)
- 1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced small
- 1/2 cup fresh blue berries.
- Place the strawberries into a colander and since them under cold running water. Drain and hull the strawberries. Cut the larger berries in half or quarters and leave the small berries whole. Place the strawberries in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot such as a heavy dutch oven and toss them with the sugar and Grand Marnier.
- Bring the berry mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Add the apple and blueberries and continue to keep the mixture at a rolling boil, stirring occasionally, until the jam reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer. This takes about 25 to 35 minutes.
- Skim and discard any foam that rises to the top. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and then store covered in the refrigerator. It will keep refrigerated for at least 2 weeks. To keep the jam longer, pack and seal in canning jars.
It doesn't seem to least more than 2 weeks in my home, so we haven't canned any yet. Perhaps this time if we have enough strawberries we can make a now jar and a canned jar or two for future.
I also wanted to share a recipe for using up the greens at the tops of your carrots. In past years I always just threw away the greens at the tops of my carrots because I knew we didn't want to eat those. I was certain of it. This year I decided to see if there were any yummy uses for these greens as I know they are filled with nutrients that would be beneficial to my family. One of the women that I see weekly at the farm shared a recipe with me that I plan to try out this week, and thought that you all might want to try it as well if you have carrot greens to use. enjoy!
Carrot Green, Parsley, and Hazelnut Pesto for Pasta
- 3/4 cup hazelnuts
- 1/8 cup carrot leaves chopped
- 1/8 cup parsley chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- sea salt (to taste)
- Toast the nuts at 325 degrees for a few minutes to bring out their nutty flavor. In a food processor, puree the nuts, carrot leaves, parsley leaves, lemon juice, and garlic. Pour in cheese, salt, and olive oil. Start with 1/4 cup olive oil and blend. Increase the oil if the pas to is too thick. Do not put the whole 1/2 cup in at once as it might be too much oil.
- Cook your pasta anyway you like it, any type that you enjoy. Toss with the fresh pesto sauce while the pasta is still hot.
We will be trying this recipe tonight for dinner along with a spinach and strawberry salad from our vegetables in the box.