We Missed the Market Today

On Thursday, I drove up to Kelowna for a job interview. Little did I know that my day would become even more exciting.

Around 1:30 pm, a small fire started at the side of Hwy 3.

Fire1At 3:30 I left Kelowna to head home and made it as far as Big White. Here the police stopped me and told me Hwy 33 was closed!

When I asked about getting home, they told me I would have to go to up to Vernon and over to the Farquier Ferry.

Living in a border town, I thought going home through the US would be MUCH faster. After telephoning my husband, I headed back to Kelowna.

Trip1 copy
Rush hour and through downtown, then across the only bridge across the lake, the traffic was AWFUL. Taking about twice as long as it should. Meanwhile, in Rock Creek….

Fire4
I drove down Hwy 97 to Osoyoos then turned onto Hwy 3 and made it as far as Hume Creek Road. (this is 20k from home).

Trip2 copy

The road was closed and there was no getting through.

Fire5

Once again, I was turned around and headed back to Osoyoos.
I got to see a new fire that had just crossed the border. Friends from the Market live in that area.

MolsonFire

There were 2 helicopters and lots of heavy equipment working feverishly on the fire line.

I watched for a few minutes and then went back to the Timmy’s in Osoyoos.

Timmys copy

There, I and several other lost souls talked about whose houses had burned and where people were evacuating to.

For some news coverage on the fire, click here.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-s-rock-creek-fire-appears-to-be-human-caused-1.3191040

I thought about staying in Osoyoos and then driving through the US to Midway and going over when the border opens at 9 am.

BUT

NOOsoyoos is a tourist town and it is tourist season and there were LOTS of displaced tourists. Yes, I could have telephoned several of the other Farm Market vendors for a place to stay, but I was too wide awake and I really did not want to talk.

When the Coffee shop closed at Midnight I headed to the US. There was ANOTHER fire (this one started by a crashed airplane)

Fire2The whole hill behind Oroville was burning! The rest of my trip was uneventful (except there was tons of deers running around)

There5I arrived at the border at 3:30am, but the border was not open until 9, so I tried to snooze.

As the border crossing is only a few hundred metres/yards away from our house, I thought about walking home and coming back in the morning. Not wanting to get into trouble, I stayed.

At 5:30 am it started to gets light and the wind shifted and the smoke moved in.

Borderby 7:30, it got really smoky!

Border2You could not even see Ingram Mountain!

When I got home, I was was really ready for a snooze, and I went for a nap. Dave went out.

Initially we were a little worried the fire would move along the river, but even though it is almost 2800 hectares ( 11 square miles), it looks like it will miss us. We do have our trailer hitched up to the truck, the kit bags are ready if we have to leave and the pets are in the house.

This morning we found out that fires are burning near Oliver (read more here).

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Our hearts go out all those who have been affected by the fires in our area.

 

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How to Choose Ripe Fruit at the Farm Market

At the grocery store, I am like everyone else, I tend to hold, squeeze, poke, and prod the fruit to see if it’s going to be ripe enough to eat that week.

BUT if you try this at a farmer’s market — you’re likely to get glares from the stall owners!

So what’s the etiquette and how can you be sure you’re taking home a good peach?

FruitEtiquette

The fruit you get at the grocery store, is usually picked when it’s a bit under-ripe, as they assume it will ripen during transport. Whole trees are picked at once, meaning the ripe, unripe, and overripe all go into the mix and making choosing the best fruit a guessing game.

However, when you buy from the farmer at the farmer’s market, it is selectively picked at it’s prime and usually within of a few days (or hours!) of going to the market. When you are buying at the farm market, You can buy fruit with the assumption that if it’s not already ripe, it will be within the next day or two.

Yes, you can pick up fruit – to judge it’s size and look for spoilage. However, hold it gently and don’t squeeze or poke. When you do this, (especially with peaches) it causes bruising that is quickly visible on the surface of the fruit, making it difficult for the farmer to sell later on.

If you’re not sure the fruit is ripe, smell it close to the stem end. Unripe fruit will have little to no aroma while ripe fruit will smell sweet. The stronger the scent, the more ripe the fruit.

If you are not sure, ask the question, “Will these [name of fruit] be ready to eat by [insert day here]?”. When you ask questions, you can start a conversation about which fruit is ripest, how to store it, and how long it can keep. And you may make a new friend.

OK, at the farm market, you can ask the farmer, but how can you tell at other places? Because peaches are in season, I asked our friend Dave Evens, who sells fruit at the Osoyoos Market how to choose a ripe peach. He told me there are three main characteristics that would help you identify a sweet, juicy, ready-to-eat peach:

1. Color: This is important because you ought to know what you’re looking for. Dave, says “The real color you want to look for is the background color of the fruit and not the red, highlight.” According to him, the red color is deceptive because our brain is genetically evolved to think that the color red is delicious and sweet. He says, “Breeders have bred the color red into a lot of peaches grown around the world now-a-days because it helps sell the fruit.” The real color you want to look for is the yellow and it should be deep golden, not pale.

2. Touch: You can tell if a peach is ripe or not with a gentle, yet firm squeeze (not hard enough to bruise it) with your fingers. If there’s a little bit of a give there, then it means that the fruit is almost ripe but not quite. I could leave such a peach on the kitchen counter for another 2-3 days until it is actually soft to very soft.

3. Skin Texture: This is the most telling of all three characteristics. You can tell that a peach is ready to eat by looking for signs of shriveled skin around the stem. When you see these wrinkles, that’s the sign of a really excellent peach. I had asked Dave what the shriveling means and he explained that wrinkles develop on the skin when water starts to leave the fruit. “Water evaporates from fruit once it has been picked because the skin is very porous. It will shrivel and dry up and that will intensify the flavors and give you the best peach flavor,” he explained.

Now you know, so Don’t Squeeze the Fruit!

Tomorrow at the market we will have:

  • Spicy Pickled Cukes,
  • Dill Pickles
  • Tomato Salsa
  • Strawberry Coconut & Vanilla Jam
  • Tequila Jalapeno Jelly and More…..

I am not Amused

I am writing a blog post about my experiences, as I can not send an email directly to Bernardin. This is their contact page. Yes I can send them a short message from their site, but I can’t include pictures.

BernardinContact

I am a proud Canadian and when I make our Beary Good Stuff, I try to ensure that as many of the ingredients I use are Canadian, manufactured or bottled or produced by Canadian companies. One of the products that is used in almost all of our products is pectin and we use a lot of it. In 2013 we made 398 batches of jam and jelly and for every one we used Bernardin Pectin and only had to remake 7 batches. Most of our jellies are made with liquid pectin and at almost $4 a box, In 2013 we spent $1500 on Bernardin pectin alone!

Fast forward to this year…..we have not had the same success in our jam and jelly making. First I used pectin that was past its use by date. This resulted in 8 batches (approximately 64 jars) of jelly that has to be trashed, as even after remaking they would not set.  This was extremely costly. For example: 4 of the batches were Cherry and Red Wine Jelly

Cherrie

We are out of pocket for $133.19 for costs alone (this does not include labour or utility charges). When I contacted them, via the text message on their site, they telephoned me. They recommended I use the jelly as syrup. The lady I spoke with kindly sent me a coupon for $3. Alas, Cherry Red Wine Syrup is not an alternative. I dumped it all to reuse the jars and threw out 36 boxes of pectin that were only 4-8 weeks past the use by date.

Fast forward to today. So far, we have had to remake 15 batches (out of a total 24) made using Bernardin Liquid Pectin. Using Bernardin liquid pectin has cost us:

15batchesThe above are the costs of what it takes for us to make jam. But this is NOT the total cost to us. We have also lost the time to make more jam and jelly to sell. If I have to remake a batch that did not set, I can’t make another batch to take to the market. Then there is the cost of the sales of the jam itself. When I add all of these costs together, this year we have lost $1,355.

Now that might not seem like a lot to Bernardin, it IS a lot to us!

At first, when were were having issues with our stuff setting, we believed it was the stale pectin, and we purchased and continued to use Bernardin Liquid Pectin. Why? Because we had used  Bernardin Liquid Pectin when we formulated our recipes and it was Canadian, we thought

We had lost our touch…

I know, I should have stopped using it after the first few failed batches, but there are some other considerations…we live in a rural area and buy in bulk when we go to the “big city” for supplies.

Being totally frustrated, yesterday, we bought an alternative product. This morning, I sliced and diced 2 cups of jalapenos, measured the other ingredients to make 2 batches of Tequila Jalapeno Jelly using the 2 different liquid pectins. First we made a batch of Tequila Jalapeno Jelly using the alternative pectin.

Then we made a second batch using Bernardin pectin. They now have both been cooling and its been approximately 4 hours since the jelly was made. Here are the results:

Pectin1

and in close up

Pectin2

Liquid. I don’t think this will set up, but I will give it 2 weeks just to be sure that it is just not taking more time.(sometimes jelly can take 2 weeks to set up).

pectin3

Perfect! We will be able to sell this at the market this weekend!

Finally, one of our big sellers is Root Beer Jelly. Here is a batch I made 3 weeks ago. It will have to be remade if I want to sell it!

Pectin4

Bernardin, you have lost all my business. Not only for the Liquid Pectin, but jars, lids and powdered pectin. (Don’t get me going about the bottoms falling out of brand new jars…)

7 Days of Blueberry Garlic Jelly!

Us-MarketonMain

Yesterday at the market, Dave was talking with a couple that still had a jar of our Blueberry Garlic Jelly, they had bought at a market 2 years ago. it was in their fridge and they had not opened it. They wanted to know what they could do with it as they really were not the cream cheese, savory jelly and crackers kind of people. That got me thinking and here is a week worth of ways you can use a savory jelly to enhance your meals:

One
Sweet and Sour Chicken: Cube chicken breast into 1/2-inch cubes, and brown in a skillet with oil. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix together pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and blueberry garlic jelly until smooth. Add dome pineapple and sliced green onion, and fry until the onion wilts. Add the Blueberry Garlic mixture to a few minutes before removing chicken from skillet, stir, simmer and serve.
Sweet&Sour

TwoGlazed Salmon: Mix together bourbon, honey, melted butter and jelly until evenly incorporated. Spread over salmon, and cook until done.
salmon
ThreeCanadian Turkey Burgers: Mix together ground turkey, melted butter, dried sage and blueberry garlic jelly, season generously with salt and pepper, and throw on the grill.
Turkey
FourFish-n-Dip: Mix together equal parts horseradish sauce with blueberry garlic jelly; serve this dip with any deep-fried fish for a unique and tasty dish.
Horsey
FiveMonte Cristo Sandwich: Mix equal parts mayo and blueberry garlic jelly, spread evenly over two slices of bread, layer smoky ham or turkey with Swiss or Gruyere cheese. Dip finished sandwich into lightly beaten eggs seasoned with salt and pepper, grill in a buttered skillet, cut in half and enjoy.
MonteCristo
SixBlueberry Garlic Vinaigrette: In the bottom of a large salad bowl, add olive oil, red wine vinegar, grainy mustard and blueberry garlic jelly. Whisk until emulsified. Add lettuce, tomato and other salad ingredients to bowl, and gently toss to coat.
Salad
SevenSimple Stir-Fry: Sauté chicken slices in a skillet with canola oil. Add a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies, season with teriyaki sauce and crushed red pepper. Finish by swirling in blueberry garlic jelly until melted.
StirFry

In the above, I’ve used Blueberry Garlic Jelly, but any of our savory jellies could be used. Tonight am going to try a grilled chicken and smoky gruyere cheese Monte Cristo using our Cherry, Lime and Hot Pepper Jelly.

This Week, July 25 at the Osoyoos Market

We have had a busy 2 weeks and it was NOT at the Farm Market.

We had to go to Calgary to clean our Condo and put it up for sale. (want to buy a condo, click here) With the economy in Canada and Alberta, the way it is right now. There will be no work in online training for a while. What prompted this was my receiving word from the Boundary Community Futures, they would help me start a new consulting business for local small food businesses. I am excited to be working on a business plan, and I will pass along more information as I proceed down this path.

Osoyoos

Beary Good Stuff will still be selling at Farm Markets. And speaking of Farm Markets, we will be at the Osoyoos Market tomorrow! We have made some of our customer’s favorites – Strawberry Coconut and Vanilla Jam, as well as some new favorites, Cherry Rhubarb Jam and some of the old standbys, like Blueberry Garlic Jelly.

We have made a new batch of our Salsa Spice Blend – you can add this to fresh diced tomatoes for a fresh salsa, and we will have some of our “To Die For Cherry Muffins” available.

We look forward to seeing you at the market!

Cherry Cordial or is it Cherry Squash?

Cordial copy

Two weeks ago I made a syrup from concentrating Homemade Cherry Juice. And I was looking for what to call it. I was calling it cordial, but then somebody asked me if it was squash. And I got confused. The definitions on the left are the two standard ones I have found.

SquashI was under the impression that a cordial was made from a syrup which is then diluted whereas squashes are concentrated fruit juices which you then dilute. I must admit, though, that searches on the net have actually made the difference between the two less clear, rather than more.

I am hoping to make more with other fruits as the season goes on and some will contain things other than fruit. So I believe I will call them Cordial.

CherryDrink copyFor the last 2 markets, we have been taking Cherry Lemon-limeade, made with the cordial and selling by donations. At the last market, we got 20 pounds cherries from Dave Evens. It has been VERY hot here and I did not get to them until Monday morning. Because of the heat, they were over ripe for jamming. I made more cordial.

CherryCordialOut of the 20 pounds of cherries I started with, after cleaning and culling out the soft and mushy ones, I had 14 pounds of cherries, I bagged 12 cups (unpitted) and dumped the rest into a deep pot, covered with water and began cooking them.

After the liquid was reduced by 1/3, I strained and measured the juice. I ended up 18 cups of juice. For each 2 cups pf juice, I added 3/4 cup of sugar and brought to a boil and simmered for another 1/2 hour.

I then poured the syrup into 250ml, sterilized jars and canned for 10 minutes.

We will have it for sale at the next market.

Black Cherry Drink Recipes

CherryCordial2

Black Cherry Soda

Fill, preferably a Mason Jar (or 2 cup glass) with ice. Add 3-4 tablespoons of cherry cordial. Pour club soda in and stir. Look at what a pretty layered drink this Black Cherry Soda recipe makes before you stir it.

Black Cherry Limeade

  1. Pour lime concentrate into a 2 quart pitcher.
  2. Add 3 cans of water.
  3. Stir till dissolved.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of cherry syrup to the pitcher and stir.
  5. Serve over ice.

Black Cherry Royale

Hard Apple Cider
1 1/2 ounce American Fruits Cherry Cordial
Pour Cordial in Champagne flute.
Add Champagne or Cider.

Black Cherry Vodka Martini

1 ounce vodka
3 ounces tart cherry juice
Ice
*optional 1/2 ounce orange liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Gran Gala, Triple Sec)

  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake and strain into a martini glass.
  3. Garnish with a lime wheel. During cherry season, garnish with a fresh stemmed cherry.

As Promised – Recipes!

On the Cats From Hell,I mentioned between the extreme heat we have been having here and a case of bad pectin, I have been having a terrible time getting my jams and jellies to set this week.

SelfieSunday6-27 copyTo have enough stock for the Saturday Market in Osoyoos, I had made Maple Pecan Butter Tarts (what could be more Canadian) and a Salsa Spice Mix. I also diced 2 cups of tomatoes and added 2 Tbsp of the spice mix (I also added a 1/4 cup of cider vinegar as the tomatoes were quite dry) the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight.  As we always have samples of our products, the salsa samples sold the mix.

IMG-20130813-00006.jpgWe have this great case I found at Micheal’s we keep our samples in. We can close the lid to keep dust and bugs out and we can pour ice around the jars to keep the samples cool, even when its hot. We use spoons to put the samples on crackers. Kids love it. We have had some stand there and ask to taste every single thing in our case! Now – onto the important stuff, the recipes.

Maple Pecan Butter Tarts

Butter tarts are a traditional Canadian treat, As is Maple Syrup. Our son Alex’s, Bosses, Father has a Sugar Bush Farm in Quebec and we are lucky to get some of the great Dark Syrup. I used this to make the tarts.

Pastry:                                            note: I cheated, I used frozen tarts, it was too darn hot to make pastry
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter (or half butter, half lard), chilled and cut into pieces
1/2 cup cold water

To make the pastry, in a large bowl stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and blend with a pastry blender, fork or your fingers (or pulse in the food processor) until well blended, with some pieces of fat the size of a pea. Drizzle in enough water to make the dough hold together – you’ll likely need almost all of it. Shape the pastry into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out about 1/8-inch thin; cut into 3-inch rounds with a cutter or glass rim and fit into muffin cups. Reroll the scraps only once to get as many as possible.

TartsFilling:
2 large eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp. lemon juice or cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup(ish) chopped pecans or raisins (or to make it a real Canadian treat crumbled bacon)

Preheat the oven to 375F.To make the filling, in a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup, butter, lemon juice and salt, stirring until smooth.

Sprinkle some chopped pecans or raisins (or the crumbled bacon) into the bottom of each pastry cup and fill with the filling mixture, filling almost full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden. Remove from the pan while the tarts are still warm.

Makes 1 1/2 – 2 dozen tarts.

Yes, they are tasty (and decadent).

Salsa Mix

We can a tomato salsa that is very popular at the market and we make it both mild and hot. It is made with vine ripened tomatoes and opening a jar in the middle if winter is like opening a jar of summer. There are some greenhouse tomatoes popping up at the fruit stands but they don’t taste much different than the tomatoes found in the grocery store. Its times like this I reach for our Salsa Mix, made from dried veggies and spices, it makes a great fresh tomato salsa.sALSA2Although there is dried onion and jalapenos in the mix, I like to add some diced onion. My husband likes his with a little more heat, so we add some diced Jalapenos too.

sALSA3Salsa Mix (You can make it in a Jar)

  • 3/4 cup dried cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup dried chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp dried Jalapeno flakes (if you like)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Measure all into jar or zip lock bag, seal & shake to combine.

Fresh Salsa

Combine the following, mix well: Chill 1 hour to let spices mingle.

  • 1-2 tablespoons salsa mix
  • 10 oz can Mexican-style tomatoes or 1-2 Cups diced tomatoes.
  • I like to add some diced onion. My husband likes his with a little more heat, so we add some diced Jalapenos too.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Salsa Spread

  • 2 tablespoons salsa mix
  •  cup chopped Tomatoes
  •  cup softened cream cheese

Combine Mix, tomatoes, cream cheese, chill 2 hours.

Serve with Chips/Crackers/Veggie Sticks.

Yesterday at the market, we got a large case of cherries from our friends Dave and Jean Evens. After we mowed our lawn, we sat in the shade and washed and pitted all the cherries (4-8 cup bags and 3-4 cup bags). We also sliced 18 cups of rhubarb. Tomorrow morning I am making Cherry Rhubarb jam.

Black Forest Jam!

The Farm market on Saturday was a resounding success! I sold a lot more than I anticipated and will need to makes a lot of stuff this week for the next market. I got some great dark Cherries from Dave and Jean Evens–and first up this week, Black Forest Jam!

I love Black Forest Cake! Back in the 70’s I worked in a fancy restaurant and the day chef used to make a couple a week, being the inquisitive person I am, I learned how to make them. These days, most often I buy one from the store.

StoreCakeA good cake will look much like the picture above. But lately I’ve made a couple for my husband and my homemade cakes look like this:

BlackForestCakeHomeMadeIf I am feeling extra dangerous, I will cut each layer in 2 and the cake will have 4 slices, but homemade cherry sauce, chocolate sauce and real whipped cream, the layers have a tendency to slide off of each other, and who cares how they look, the taste is incredible!

Because I love the combination of Chocolate and Cherries so much, one of my first endeavors in creating jam was Black Forest Jam.

BUT, it is a fickle jam. If the cherries are too ripe, the humidity is off, the stars aren’t aligned right or I don’t hold my mouth in the right position, the jam does not set up properly, but it still makes the best syrup in the world.

First up you need to cut the pitted cherries in half

Step1You need 3-4 cups of halved, pitted cherries.

Step2Next you take 4 cups of sugar and you stir 1/3 of a cup of cocoa powder into the sugar.

Step3

These are the ingredients you need,

StepIngredientsCherry Rum,  sugar/cocoa mix, halved cherries, coconut, lemon juice (and liquid pectin not shown).

I put the cherries, sugar/cocoa mix and lemon juice into a deep pot and let the sugar extract the cherry juices by letting it sit for half an hour.

Step4 Meanwhile, I put the jars in the canner and start it boiling to sterilize the jars.

Next step is to bring the cherries, sugar, cocoa and lemon juice to a full rolling boil.

Step5

And boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute. I also like to ensure that the mixture reaches 200 degrees f.

I then add the pectin and return to a full rolling boil for another minute (and 200 degrees f).

Step6I turn down the heat and remove the sterilized jars from the canner for filling.

When I remove the pot of jam from the stove to the sink drain board, I stir in the cherry rum and the coconut.

IMG_1643As you can see, I am not the neatest ladeler….

I then whip the rims with a damp paper towel, put on the lids and return to the canner.

Step8I process the jars for 10 minutes after the water returns to a boil.

Step9The kitchen smells heavenly! And this jam – heavenly as well.

Now, I am waiting to see if it sets up into jam or if I have the best chocolate cherry syrup in the world.  Black Forest Jam usually takes 2-5 days to set.

If you would like to try and make your own, here is the recipe.

Black Forest Jam

Makes about 7 (8 oz) half pints Ingredients:

  • 4      C sugar
  • 1/3  C sifted cocoa powder
  • 3 ½ C halved, pitted fresh or thawed frozen sweet cherries (about 3 lb)
  • ¼    C lemon juice
  • 6oz Liquid Pectin
  • 1/3  C unsweetened flaked coconut
  • ½   C Kirsh or cherry brandy (or in my case, homemade cherry rum)

7 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands Directions:

  1. PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
  2. COMBINE sugar and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine cherries, lemon juice and cocoa mixture in a large saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in pectin. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove from heat and add coconut and Kirsh, stirring well. Skim foam if necessary.
  6. Ladle hot conserve into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
  7. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

New Product Debuts at Osoyoos Farm Market and Some Recipes

Yes, its been awhile since I did a farm market, but that ends tomorrow! I will be at the Market on main in Osoyoos from 8-1 and I am looking forward to it.

I will be bringing:

  • Strawberry Jalapeno Barbecue Sauce
  • Strawberry Marmalade
  • Strawberry Banana Jam
  • Blueberry Lime Jam
  • Root Beer Jelly
  • Cherry Rhubarb Jam
  • Pickled Asparagus
  • Pickled Garlic

And a BRAND NEW PRODUCT Blueberry Maple Barbecue Sauce.

BlueberryMapleBBQSauceThe ingredients are: Blueberries, Onions, Garlic, Jalapenos, Maple Syrup, Brown Sugar, Red Wine Vinegar, Lime Juice, Cinnamon and Allspice. No Tomatoes or Gluten for those with food sensitivities.

This sauce is especially tasty with chicken and fish or used stir frying carrots, onions, beets and parsnips.

Here are a couple of recipes using the Blueberry Maple Barbecue Sauce:

Blueberry Maple Barbecue Chicken

ChickenIngredients:

  • 4-5 lb broiler/fryer Chicken cut into quarters or eighths
  • Olive Oil to drizzle1
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Jar of Blueberry Maple Barbecue Sauce

Note: if using a charcoal grill, evenly distribute the hot charcoal to one side of the grill, if using a gas grill, turn one side to medium-high setting.

Directions:

  1. Lightly coat the chicken with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken skin side down on the grill. Turn the pieces every 2-3 minutes. Adjust the heat to prevent charring.
  2. Once the chicken is nicely grill marked, move to the cool side of the grill. At this point the chicken should roast in the high heat and not have direct contact with flame or the hottest portion of the grill.
  3. After 20 minutes, check the temperature of the chicken is 155f with an instant read thermometer inserted in the deepest portion of each piece.
  4. Now generously baste the chicken with the Blueberry Maple Barbecue Sauce and return the pieces to the hottest portion of the grill to crisp.
  5. Watch carefully and do not leave over the flame too long or the sugar from the sauce will caramelize quickly and could burn.
  6. Serve immediately with extra sauce.

And because we have the best Salmon in the world, here is a Salmon recipe:

Blueberry Maple Grilled Salmon

SalmonIngredients:

  • Blueberry Maple Barbecue Sauce
  • 4-9 oz Salmon Steaks
  • Lime Wedges

Directions:

  1. Place salmon in glass baking dish. Pour about a quarter of the sauce over the fish, turning to coat the salmon.
  2. Let the salmon marinate while preparing the barbecue or pre-heating the broiler (medium-high heat).
  3. Cook salmon until just opaque, brushing with the marinade occasionally (almost 4 minutes a side)
  4. Transfer to plates.
  5. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

I look forward to seeing you there!

How Much Profit is there in selling canned artisan canned goods?

There are plenty of reasons to buy artisan, hand-crafted, seasonal and local food at the farm market or in a specialty grocery section and here are some of the reasons why:

1. Health

1batchtomatoesConcern for BPA and other additives in many commercial canned foods (such as tomatoes) is on the rise, and a huge incentive for home cooks and concerned parents to can their own or purchase from small batch canners. Doing this, you can ensure BPA-free foods, as well as healthy, preservative-free foods that contain no harmful additives or pesticides.

That’s my first choice. When my son was young, he was diagnosed as ADHD. I did not want to put an active 5 year old on drugs and I wondered if it might be additives in prepared foods (including canned tomatoes). My mother had canned when I was younger, so I asked her to help me and I discovered I liked it.  Within 2 months, my son was fine. We kept making and eating home canned food.

2. Eco-Friendly

tomatoes2The environmental impact is minimal when you can your own food or purchase from a small batch canner. It reduces the waste associated with pre-packed foods–remember, those mason jars are reusable–the rings are reusable–the lid is recyclable. Most people who sell canning at the farm market, will take those jars back. Your tomato sauce is only traveling from the farm to the counter to the pantry or to a Farm Market instead of thousands of miles across the country on a truck belching out emissions. And those vegetables and fruits traveled from the garden or farm to the market to the canner’s kitchen.

3. Passion & Personal Satisfaction

StrawberryYou think knitters are passionate about their craft? People who are serious about putting food in jars are a more than worthy rival. They help us remember that the experience of opening a jar of cherry preserves in January is more than just jam on toast – it’s transporting you back to summer. It’s a flavor explosion that makes the plain yogurt you stir it into a delectable delight!

4. Gifts

RockCreek5Nothing says ‘I love you’ quite like a jar of homemade preserves or pickles. Good food makes everyone feel good, whether they are giving or receiving, its all in the taste. After all, who does not like tasty well prepared food.

5. Quality & Taste

The perfect hot summer night supper!It is not personal preference, it is not self-delusion–no commercially canned product tastes as good as locally grown, harvested in season, small batch preserves! Good canners know that the end product is only as good as the produce selected to make it. No soft, almost gone produce makes the grade. The produce is selected, during season, from plants grown in dirt, in the sun  – ensuring top quality – and then canned it at its peak of ripeness. You can bet the flavor of any small batch product will mirror the quality and care that went into making it.

BUT, small batch canning is not cheap. Sure, you can buy a jar of Strawberry Jam or a jar of pickles for less in the grocery store, but:

  • What additives did they put in for the “crunch” or the “Mouth Texture“?
  • Are there added food coloring, high fructose corn syrup, salt, and preservatives?.
  • Where did the fruit/vegetables grow?
  • What insecticides, fertilizers and growth hormones were part of the poor plant’s life cycle?

In the last couple of weeks, I have been gearing up to re-start Beary Good Stuff and I’ve been doing a fair bit of research into how much the costs have gone up in the last 18 months.

the following visual gives you some idea of how much it costs to make a jar of REAL food.

CanningCostsFurther, out of the profit, comes all out research, federal provincial and regional district fees (got to love those hidden taxes), transportation to and from any market–and if it is a farm market, the farm market fee too.

Product we sell at wholesale prices have a profit of less than 50 cents a jar, so the retailer can get our product to you, the purchaser. Consider–a batch, that takes an 3/4 of an hour to make can leave you with $4.00 an hour wage.

Choosing small batch canning as a profession is not going to make you wealthy, but it makes you rich knowing how much others appreciate good, flavorful and quality food.