ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

Back to Wisconsin, my cheesehead friends


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The Canning Inventory, 2019

Friends, I have been way behind in relating some important news in the 2019 ReLocavore season.

First, I am sure many of you know, but if you don’t, ReLocavore and The Mister relocated. We are now back in our native turf, Southern Wisconsin. Back with quality farm land, quality farmers and quality markets. So, we re-re-located. You’ll see a definite shift in my work. First, I have lots of built-in helpers. Second, my new house has white composite marble countertops (goodbye beautiful New Hampshire granite).

Second, I have not been posting the canning inventory for 2019. Let me catch you up…

  • 37 pints Strawberry Jam (h/t Smother and The Mister)
  • 8 quarts frozen strawberry halves
  • 9 pints blueberry jam (h/t The Mister for getting them from Tree Ripe Fruit Co)
  • 10 quarts frozen blueberries (I think…?)
  • 6 quarts canned peach halves (ditto Tree Ripe)
  • 6 pints peach butter
  • 1 gallon cherry bounce (h/t Brennan’s Cellars)
  • 16 cherry hand pies
  • 2 quarts dried cherries
  • 7 half-pints cherry jam
  • 1 quart cherry pie filling (future pie #1)
  • 1 quart frozen cherries (future pie #2)
  • 2 quarts cucumber pickles
  • 6 quarts hot dilly green beans (h/t Smother)

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Strawberry Jam 2019

Sam and I picked strawberries at Carrandale Farm in Oregon, WI on a hot, humid July 5.We pulled in 39.8 lbs. Cost was $2/lb for $78.44. I also had to buy jars for this goaround.

We netted 35 jars of jam from 28 cups of crushed berries, 21.5lbs of sugar, and 7 pouches of Certo pectin. I also added about a half cup of lemon juice to the recipe because the berries were very sweet.


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35 Pints of Jam on the wall…

Sam and I took the day Thursday to go to Edgewater Farms and pick strawberries to make jam and other good things. We ended up picking 48 pounds at $2.50 per pound. The strawberries this year are the most flavorful, plump, beautifully ripe berries that I have ever picked. With berries this beautiful, it is easy to make fantastic jam.

However, that was not in the works. (/foreshadowing) I had to go to an important meeting and left Sam with a boiling pot of jam and 36 empty jars. Unfortunately, I think the berries were so sweet and wonderful, there wasn’t enough acid to setup the pectin. The jam didn’t set.

Rather than eat strawberry syrup on our toast, I opted to take the 4th holiday to reset the jam. Gigantic PITA. One unintended consequence – resetting the jam requires additional sugar, lemon juice and pectin. I had to add so much that I ended up with an extra jar of jam after resetting. So 35 pints of jam.

2016-06-30 10.03.27-1


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The best pie… EVER

Strawberry Icebox Pie from Cooks Illustrated is the best pie I have ever eaten. Icebox pie is a gelatin-based pie with fresh fruit in a pie shell, topped with strawberry whipped cream. It has all of the qualities of a perfect dessert:

  • Ripe strawberry flavor really shines through
  • Pieces of real fruit
  • Cold, refreshing and you eat it when its hot outside.
  • A positive uplifting note at the end of the meal.

I do one minor variation. I substitute goat cheese for cream cheese in the whipped topping. The slightly goaty and tangy flavor is unexpected in the topping and is a wonderful complement to the fresh strawberries.

My mom used to make these pies when she worked at Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant in Dayton, OH. Seems like it’s still on the menu. No way it can be this good.

 

  • 2016-07-02 18.35.142016-07-02 18.35.50


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The price of my homemade strawberry jam=$0.22/ounce

2015-06-22 08.38.34Here’s the sick thing… I did the math and my homemade jam costs about as much per ounce as Bonne Maman’s high-end grocery store jam: $0.22 per ounce.

I made 30.5 pints of jam, using 34 jars (some were half-pint jars for gifts), inputting 28 lbs of strawberries, 7 packets of Certo pectin and 21.462 pounds of sugar.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Jar and ring – reusable and depreciating resource.
  • Canning equipment – depreciating resource.
  • Canning jar lid. $1.99 for 12 = $0.17 per lid, or $5.78 for lids.
  • Sugar. $2.59 at the COOP for a 4 pound bag = $0.65 per pound or $14.07 for sugar.
  • Strawberries at $2.50 per pound and 28 lbs of berries into the recipe = $70 for strawberries.
  • Certo is $4.59 for 2 pouches = $2.30/pouch so $16.10 on pectin.

Grand total = $105.95 for 30.5 pints of jam. That’s $0.22 per ounce. 

Bonne Mamans jam was on sale at the COOP for $2.99 for a 13 ounce jar or $0.23 per ounce.

I hope some of you are jumping up and down right now and pointing out the serious flaws in my calculation… I don’t take into Labor costs, which was about 13.5 woman-hours. I don’t take into account the cost of my “facility” to produce jam. I don’t take into account transportation, and I’ve discounted my equipment. But hey! My jam is a heck of a lot tastier than anything you’d ever buy in a store. Plus I have a great memory of spending a hot, muggy day in the kitchen with my sister. That’s worth a lot more than $0.23 per ounce.


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Fruit, sugar, pectin needed to make strawberry jam in quantity

I got sick of doing the math every year, so I made a table for large batches of strawberry jam. The recipe is based on using Certo liquid pectin.

Certo Pectin Pouches Strawberries
Pounds
Strawberries
Hulled and crushed
cups
Sugar
cups
Sugar
Ounces
Sugar
Pounds
Yield
Pints
1 4 4 7 49 3.066 4
2 8 8 14 98 6.132 8
3 12 12 21 147 9.198 12
4 16 16 28 196 12.264 16
5 20 20 35 245 15.33 20
6 24 24 42 294 18.396 24
7 28 28 49 343 21.462 28
8 32 32 56 392 24.528 32