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Strawberry Marsala and Vanilla Bean Jam

27 Jun

Strawberries have arrived! For me, it’s the fruit that really marks the beginning of the summer season and I’ll go just about anywhere to get my hands on plenty of them. While my garden patch is doing well, it provides just enough for the occasional treat so it’s off for my yearly pilgrimage to the u-pick farm where I usually pick my weight in berries, put up the majority of them and freeze the rest. It’s labour intensive, but it’s brief and you have a year’s worth of sunshine to see you through to the following June.

This year, I was excited a new strawberry patch opened up nearby, saving me almost 1.5 hours of driving. Hick’s Berry Patch has beautifully laid out rows, each identified by their variety. It’s easy picking and the berries were wonderful.

Just don’t get lost en route…

An hour and 17 lbs of strawberries later and I’m armed and ready to start this year’s Strawberry Preservefest. While almost all of them were earmarked for Cocagne River Orchard, I saved the last bit for a spur-of-the-moment and late night attempt at something unique and really special. Born out of a necessity to use up some sweet Marsala wine I inadvertently bought for a Chicken Marsala dish, it’s a gorgeous, deep red jam with a beautiful set and rich flavour.

Strawberry Marsala and Vanilla Bean Jam

Strawberry Marsala and Vanilla Bean Jam

Yields: 2x250ml, 1x125ml

4 cups crushed strawberries

1.5 cups sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

1 vanilla bean pod, halved and seeds removed

1/4 cup sweet Marsala wine

1. In a large pot, stir vanilla bean seeds and pod in crushed strawberries. If possible, let sit and marinade for a couple of hours. Remove pod before boiling. (I rinse the pod off and put it in granulated sugar.)

2. Add sugar and bring strawberry/vanilla mixture and bring to a soft boil over medium heat. In about 10 minutes, check the gel point. Mine took about 14 minutes for a soft set and I tested using the frozen saucer test.

3. Once set to your liking, stir in 1/4 cup of Marsala wine and ladle into hot jars. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Strawberry Marsala and Vanilla Bean Jam on Punk   Domestics

*Guess the Jelly Contest*

29 Mar

Can you guess the specific type of jelly I’ve made with the following ingredients? It’ll be tempting to name the predominant flavour, but the key is the supporting players that are adding a unique and specific type of flavour. Guess the correct jelly and you might win a jar! Please note: lemon and orange rind couldn’t attend the photoshoot, but are present in the jelly.

Those that guess correctly will be entered into a draw for a jar.

Guess the Jelly

Guess the Jelly

Winner will be announced next Tuesday, April the 5th. Contest limited to residents of  Canada and the U.S.

Beaujolais Nouveau est Arrive!

19 Nov

It's Here!

The third Thursday of every year is celebrated by wine lovers across the globe and for good reason: It’s a grand tradition and a great excuse to drink some wine! On that third Thursday at midnight, bottles of Beaujolais nouveau is shipped all around the world so everyone has a chance to celebrate the arrival of the first fruits together. Fun!

Beaujolais is very young, very fresh and needs to be consumed quite quickly. You’re not looking for depth of character, but more for a hint or promise of what’s to come from  this year’s vintage. It’s also a chance to rejoice in the harvest, to sit back and relax and reflect on all that hard work you did over the summer and enjoy the fruits of your labour. So enjoy, toast your efforts and celebrate with Francophones and vinophiles around the world that Beaujolais nouveau est arrive!

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