Monday, November 4, 2013

Jamming with Black Eyed Susan

     This Sunday a few of the farmers were treated to a FREE jam-making workshop by Susan Wilkerson of Columbia. Seven of us made the short drive to Susan's beautiful country home, where she and her husband maintain a large vegetable garden, chickens, and Susan's home-making/crafts studio known as Black Eyed Susan's (I know - so cute). Susan is a champion of all things home-made and her delightfully decorated house is filled with knitting projects, baked goods, and crafts that she has made - including lots of jams and jellies! With berries from Susan's own garden, we chatted with our hostess as she demonstrated the proper process of canning using a boiling pot of water. I personally found the workshop very inspirational - it showed me how easy it is to make jam! You don't even necessarily need to purchase a canner (although that would be ideal) - a large pot will do as long as it is heavy-bottomed and has a wire rack set inside so that the glass jars do not contact the pot. The water-boiling method can be used to can anything that has high enough acid (such as tomatoes and fruits) or anything that is made with vinegar (such as pickled vegetables). I believe that preserving food is just as important as learning to grow it, and I hope that in the near future the farm will be able to purchase its own canning equipment, including a pressure-canner which would allow us to preserve meats, seafood, and vegetables (without vinegar). This would help to make our education as farmers more well-founded and complete, and would allow us to host workshops for the UConn community as well! Susan was very keen on the idea.
     I have already contacted Susan about the possibility of a knitting workshop on another Sunday in November, or possibly December! You should see the beautiful things she has made. Susan's Aunt taught her how to knit when she was 10, she has been doing it for 60 years and still loves it! More to come on this, although definitely let me know if you are interested in attending!

Jam On!


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