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Strawberry season is here again

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By Theresa Howard

The LaRue County Farmers Market is open two afternoons a week until October in the Extension Office parking lot. The market is 2-5:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays. You’ll find a variety of items now such as herbs or other bedding plants, flowers, honey, or early season fresh produce like asparagus. Local beef is also available and grilled hamburgers will be offered on many Fridays.

One popular item available now is local strawberries. I know canning season has officially started when our office starts to get questions about making jams and jellies. You can find the pectin ingredient in most any grocery or store that has home canning supplies. Many recognize this by the product name Sure Jell, but you can use any brand fruit pectin product.

Strawberry freezer jam

·3 cups fresh strawberries, crushed

·5 cups sugar

·1 package powdered pectin

·1 cup water

Sort and wash fully ripened berries. Drain. Remove caps and stems. Crush berries and place into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, mix well, and let stand for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Dissolve the pectin in the water; bring to a boil for 1 minute. Add pectin solution to the fruit and sugar mixture and stir for 2 minutes. Ladle the jam into jelly jars or suitable freezer containers, leaving one-half inch headspace. Cover the containers and let stand for 24 hours or until jam is set. Yield: nine 6-ounce jars. Jam can be held in the refrigerator three weeks and frozen up to one year. Nutrition analysis; 1 tablespoon is 45 calories.

Stop by or contact the Extension Office at 358-3401 for free handouts on home canning or freezing of Kentucky produce. Or, access these publications at http://ces.ca.uky.edu/larue; select Food Preservation link.