A return from our hiatus

Shortly after my mother and I started this blog, we disappeared into the depths of cyber space. The holidays, school, and just plain old life got in the way. But we certainly haven’t forgotten this space. And now that canning season is kicking into gear, we’re back.

Of course, our disappearance certainly doesn’t mean we gave up canning over the winter. We both managed to keep busy in the kitchen, especially with an unusually steady supply of fresh produce, courtesy of the warm weather. One of my personal favorites was pickled cranberries, made with heirloom cranberries from Greensgrow farm in Philadelphia. Even my mom liked it, and she generally hates cranberries. You can find the recipe over at http://www.foodinjars.com – I’ll post a link when I get a chance.

Another winter favorite was grapefruit jam. It’s a bit labor intensive, but my god it’s delicious. I’m desperately in need of a bigger batch, so I’ll do a full review of it once that happens.

But most of my winter preservation efforts took the form of beer. I took my first step towards all grain brewing, and it was a surprisingly simple process (at least for the style I chose). The style I went with was a Berliner Weisse, or a sour, low alcohol German style beer. It’s extremely refreshing and pleasantly tart. And the alcohol level is lower than your standard beer, coming in at roughly 3% alcohol by volume. It’s a great place to start for newbies interested in brewing.

Of course, now that it’s strawberry season, we’re planning on taking full advantage of spring’s bounty. I’ve already put up strawberry rhubarb jam (and some rhubarb jam); and my mom put up a bunch of strawberry and strawberry vanilla jam. And now that I’m home for the next few days, my mom and I have a whole flat of strawberries to play with. Jams, pies, and my first foray into fruit leather will all take place over the next day or two.

I know this post is a bit of a tease, with just a few quick glimpses of what we’ve been up to, but hopefully it’s just enough to whet your appetite. Stay tuned for more details, some snazzy photos (courtesy of my mom), and some delicious recipes.

– Jess

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