Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Freezing Blueberries & Jam

Local Blueberries!
The local Blueberries are now available!  That was the signal to me to get busy!  I purchase this yummy sweet fruit and then clean/ freeze the berries to place in Ziploc Freezer bags and we enjoy them in the coming months.  After going through each pint of berries, they are triple washed and then drained.  Packing them away and then placing the labelled bags on "their" shelf in our large freezer.

No, not all of the berries are frozen.  There's still snacking going on and also Blueberry Freezer Jam was prepared.  Each of 3 batches was prepared separately.  After the 24 hour time period, the containers of Jam were also placed in the freezer.  Looking back, I've been preparing Freezer Jam for probably 40 years.  For me it sure is a LOT easier than stirring the mixture over a hot stove on a HHH summer day.  Easy works so well.  This jam is just so yummy!

CERTO is the liquid fruit pectin that I use.  The preparation directions are located inside each box.

CERTO
The key things to remember here:
  • Use clean utensils, containers.
  • Prepare each batch separately.
  • Have ALL ingredients ready to use.
  • Follow Directions EXACTLY.
This year I discovered that I had a medley of freezer containers to use.  It was time to place "freezer containers" on my grocery list!

Blueberry Freezer Jam
 Homemade Jam is just the best!!!  Fortunately for us, this year we did not run out of our supply before the first of the new Freezer Jams (Strawberry) was prepared in June.

Do you freeze the local fruit in the summer?  Do you prepare Freezer Jams?

Enjoy!
Yummy!
        

Saturday, July 14, 2018

~Zinnias~


First there was one.
Now, there are some!!!
Summer is here
and the colorful Zinnias are blossoming!!!

Enjoy!
 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

~View of Flowers~

Oh, has it been hot!!  Walking outside reminds me of entering a greenhouse in the late spring.  The warm moisty air always seems to c-l-i-n-g.  No, I do not make a habit of walking into greenhouses.  Well, this hot moisty air has been enjoyed by the annuals and perennials that always add color to our yard!

Colorful Petunias!

The bright lavender Petunias are bursting with color!!

Budding Zinnias

The Zinnia seeds sprouted.  Before we knew it, many sets of leaves were visible.  Now, the buds are forming!

Front Garden
The Daylilies are beginning to blossom!  First, there were three.  Next there were four!  Tomorrow there will be so many more!!

The summer flowers are enjoying this 6 day heat wave!  The weekend looks cooler!!

Enjoying the view!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July 4, 2018


Have a Happy
&
Safe 4th of July!!!

Enjoy!
 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

FREE FUN FRIDAYS- 2018

FREE FUN FRIDAYS
It's the end of June!  It's summertime! FREE FUN FRIDAYS in Massachusetts are back!  It's the 10th anniversary!  The Highland Street Foundation generously gives all of us- living in Massachusetts, vacationing in MA or for visitors just traveling through- the opportunity to visit interesting places for FREE!

Starting this Friday, June 29 there will be 10 specific venues available to visit- no charge.  It changes every week!  Every Friday up to and including August 31 families and friends can learn something new- while having FuN!  That's 10 Fridays this summer!  They are located in Western, Central and Eastern MA.  Yes, including the Cape (Cape Cod). 

Are you interested???  Here is the Schedule this summer.

Do you have a question???  FAQ

Here is more information about the venues.

There are so many interesting places to visit!  Some include:

Springfield Museums
 
Old Sturbridge Village

The Mount- Edith Wharton's Home
This summer when school is not in session, take the opportunity to visit 1, 2 or more of these great places.  It is for visitors of ALL ages.  Remember that there are 10 specific venues to visit on 10 specific Fridays.

Have FuN!
Enjoy!


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Strawberry Freezer Jam

~Strawberry Freezer Jam~
Sweet juicy local Strawberries are just the best!  They also make a wonderful flavorful jam!  For a few decades now, I've been preparing Freezer Jams when the fresh local fruit is available.  This week 3 batches of Strawberry Freezer Jam found its spot on our dining room table to "do its thing" for the required 24 hour period.  My kitchen had this production line set up.  The strawberries had already been prepared. 

My fave containers to use are the Ziploc 1 cup containers.  The circular ones that Ziploc no longer sells.  So, during the year after we've enjoy a container of jam, each container is carefully washed/ dried & stored away for future Freezer Jams.

One day this week was Strawberry Freezer Jam Day!  The strawberries, sugar, Certo (liquid pectin) and Lemon Juice were placed on the counter- ready to use.  The Directions are located inside each box of Certo.

While preparing this Jam follow directions exactly!  I always reread the Directions and also reread my Helpful Hints.  One batch is prepared at a time!

We had been enjoying the very last container of Freezer Jam- Peach - that was prepared last year.  What great timing for our local strawberry season!  Now, our freezer has a new supply.

Do you prepare Freezer Jams?
They are so much tastier than the commercial brands of jams!

Enjoy!
Yummy!
      

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Freezing Strawberries

Local Fresh Strawberries
It's Strawberry Season!!!

Now!!!  The time of year when we can drive out to a local roadside stand and purchase a quart/ quarts of the sweet, juicy, red, local strawberries.  This week was the week to drive out to Meadowbrook Farm in East Longmeadow and purchase a flat + 2 quarts of these tasty local berries.  No, there is no way we are devouring them all at once.  The strawberries were prepared for the freezer and then frozen.  There were other plans for 3 of the quarts.  During the remaining months of the year a bag needs only to be defrosted to enjoy as a topping on Belgian Waffles, Oatmeal Pancakes or on ice cream. 

Living in MA where this fruit does not grow year round, I like to freeze the local berries in June.  The quarts purchased during the winter/ colder months in our grocery stores are not very tasty. 

Packaging the Strawberries!
Freezing the strawberries is an easy process.  Well worth the time, too, if you enjoy eating the local tasty fruit during the winter months. 

There is always a little "strawberry snacking" going on after the bags are placed in the freezer.  Some berries are saved out to enjoy now!  Yum!  While preparing the fruit, my kitchen has the aroma of a strawberry field.

Freezing Strawberries
  1. Working with a quart at a time, the tops are cut off. 
  2. Then, the strawberries are triple rinsed in cold water.
  3. Drain.
  4. Slice each strawberry in half or thirds and measure out 2 and 1/2 Cups to place in a Ziploc Quart sized Freezer Bag.  
  5. I prefer to add about 1 Tablespoon Sugar to each Ziploc Bag before freezing.
  6. Move the Sugar/ Strawberries around in the bag to dissolve the Sugar.
  7. Close, label & date each bag.  Then, place in your freezer.
  8. Defrost in fridge when needed.
This year the Strawberries are so sweet & so juicy!  What a delicious local fruit!  We need to make a return trip and purchase a few more quarts.

Do you also freeze the local fruit??

Enjoy!
Yummy!