Making overambitious plans doomed to failure is kind of my thing. So when I decided to can jam and potty train my toddler (again) last weekend, it had all the trappings of my usual ill-fated ideas. Using new and untested recipes? Check. Launching a potty training offensive without any notice to my husband? Check check. Oh, and at lunchtime I decided we should picnic and drink rosé while my husband played “Frozen” tunes on his guitar, because, you know, it’s what Pinterest would want.
And what do you know? It all happened! My Saturday began with a lightning-quick, kid-free farmer’s market run to grab some gorgeous strawberries from Lucero Farms. I mean…
I also couldn’t resist the “Firebright” yellow nectarines and fresh mountain blueberries. Or the “D’Avignon” radishes. Or the Boccalone salumi. Soooooo, after I finished hulling the strawberries, a picnic sounded juuuuust right. What better way to enjoy all of that lovely food and, uh, keep my toddler from peeing on the furniture?
To note, children are not easily fooled into consuming radishes by the presence of butter and salt. More for the grown-ups, I suppose?
During naptime, I banged out my first batch of jam: nectarine-blueberry, courtesy of a lovely recipe on Lemons & Anchovies. It cooked up to a gorgeous purple and smelled SO incredible. It’s a pectin-free recipe, so I found that the finished product is a loose preserves that requires a sturdy bread base like a classic english muffin or would do well as a dessert sauce on shortcakes or a summer ice cream sundae.
After the kiddos’ bedtime, my macerated strawberries were ready to go. I especially liked that this recipe separated the berries and their juices for much of the cooking, so the juices could get good and syrupy without the strawberries disintegrating to mush. Again, I found that this pectin-free recipe resulted in a looser product that would be well suited to desserts or stirred into greek yogurt for breakfast. I’m also intrigued by the idea of smashing the whole strawberries onto sliced bread for the ultimate PB&J and using the decadent strawberry syrup in a homemade craft cocktail.