Monthly Archives: July 2017

Strawberry Freezer Jam

I hope everyone has been enjoying the summer and all the local farm produce that is available now.  Be sure to visit your local farmers market if you can.

One of my favorite farm markets to visit is Fulton Street Farmers Market, located at 1147 East Fulton Street.  This market is the oldest and largest in Grand Rapids.  I remember visiting the market before I moved to Grand Rapids.

In its earlier days, Fulton Street Farmers Market got started by farmers selling produce from their vehicles or wagons.  In 1922, the city set aside the current location to ease the traffic congestion caused by the farmers selling their produce block to block.

In 1926, an office structure was built, where it remains to this day.  In 2012, the market underwent a major renovation that included a new covered vending area, improved booths for the vendors and repaved parking lot with improved traffic flow.

Information and photos of the Fulton Street Farmers Market are courtesy of mlive.com.

I made this Strawberry Freezer Jam twice while local strawberries were available.  It is an incredibly easy recipe to make and so delicious.  The recipe is inside the box of the Sure-Jell Fruit Pectin.  While the jam does have a lot of sugar, I didn’t find the finished product to be too sweet.  Kraft does make a Sure-Jell Fruit Pectin that uses less sugar.  It clearly states that on the box.

Freezer jam is a softer set jam than the one cooked.  The cooked jam involves the canning process as the method of storage.  I have always been afraid to do the canning bit, and I really admire anyone who does.  But with this freezer jam, canning is not necessary.  To me, it is the best jam ever and so much better than what you buy at the store.

Strawberry Freezer Jam

  • Difficulty: easy
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2 cups crushed strawberries (1 quart fully ripe strawberries)
4 cups sugar
3/4 cups water
1 box (1.75 ounce size) Sure-Jell Premium Fruit Pectin

6 – 8 ounce canning jars or plastic containers and lids

Wash and rinse canning jars or plastic containers and lids with hot water.  Dry thoroughly.  Set Aside.

Remove and discard strawberry stems.  Wash and gently pat the strawberries dry.  Place the strawberries in a large bowl and crush them with a potato masher.  Add the 4 cups of sugar to the crushed berries and stir to combine.  Let sit in the bowl for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mix the water and pectin in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly.  Continue boiling and stirring for 1 minute.  Remove the saucepan from the heat.  Add the pectin mixture to the fruit mixture and stir for 3 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved.

Fill containers immediately to within 1/2 inch of tops.  Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids.  Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.  The jam is now ready to use.  Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or in the freezer up to 1 year.  Thaw in refrigerator before using.  

 

Blueberry Muffins

I know there are a lot of great blueberry muffin recipes out there.  But, I still want to share my favorite recipe with you.  I have been making these muffins for quiet a long time.  The muffins are light and soft inside with a slightly crunchy top from the coarse sugar.  I’m not really a breakfast person except when homemade blueberry muffins are around.  These muffins are great for breakfast or for a mid-morning snack.

Blueberries are actually native to Michigan.  According to Michigan State University Extension, Michigan has almost 21,000 acres of blueberry bushes on about 600 farms.  A lot of the blueberries are grown in nearby Grand Haven and South Haven.  Michigan blueberries are typically larger than the ones found in supermarkets.

If you should ever visit Grand Haven, be sure to stop in the Blueberry Haven shop.  Blueberry Haven is a small local shop that specializes in everything blueberry.  I always buy the Michigan Blueberry Maple Syrup.  The shop is located on main street at 213 Washington Avenue, Grand Haven, MI 49417.  Even if you don’t buy anything, it is a fun shop with all the related blueberry products.

Blueberry Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 cups fresh blueberries

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
coarse sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.  Spray the pan and the liners lightly with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.

Pick out and remove any bits of stems, leaves and soft or mushy blueberries.  Rinse the berries in a colander, drain well, and then gently pat dry.  Reserve.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In another mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl.  Use a wire whisk and whisk until smooth.

Add the dry ingredients to the milk mixture and mix until just blended (do not overmix).  Add the blueberries and stir just until evenly combined.

Fill the baking cups until almost full, and sprinkle with the coarse sugar.  Bake for 5 minutes at 425°F,  then keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the heat to 375°F and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool 5 minutes in the pan on a baking rack, then remove muffins from the pan and finish cooling on the baking rack.  

 

Notes:
1.  The muffins freeze well.  Simply, warm up in the microwave.
2.  Adapted from crisco.com.