Cynthia Ferris-Bennett: A fresh return to normal (recipe)

In these uncertain times, where we are recovering from the aftereffects of COVID-19, having Farmers Market is more important than ever. People are out and about, smelling the fresh air, basking in the sunshine and enjoying the fresh bounty provided by Mother Nature... there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
In almost every town, large or small there is a Farmers Market. Farmers Markets are charming; it is that lovely transition from spring to summer. It’s an opportunity to meet the people growing and producing the food that you prepare for yourself, your family and friends. It is the personal connection that you may have built with a particular farmer (or farmers) throughout the years.
Let’s take strawberries for example. You know the quality of the organic strawberries from your favorite farmer and can’t wait to get a lug or two of those fresh picked berries, most likely picked the day before or in some cases, that day. You are already planning meals around those berries before you get to the market ... Grandma’s Strawberry Shortcake, Strawberry
Champagne Jam, Strawberry and Feta Salad...
What can I expect to find at a Farmers Market?
That will depend on the market and the time of the year. Typically farmers markets carry only locally or regionally grown, locally processed foods and locally made foods and products. This year at Sierra Chef we also are happy to welcome back our specialty vendors with home and garden products, community booths such as the Empty Bowls food closet and storytime with our Douglas County Bookmobile folks.
We are lucky to have three amazing farmers markets in our immediate area. Our market, The Main Street Gardnerville Farmers Market, presented by Sierra Chef, is every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Heritage Park in Gardnerville. The Tuesday night Minden Market on Esmeralda is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and the Carson City Farmers Market.
The Carson market will be in its new location at 412 Stewart St., starting Saturday. Be sure to come out and support these markets and their team of vendors.
Now, back to those strawberries...
Quick and Easy Refrigerator Strawberry Jam
Unlike other jam recipes, refrigerator jams don’t require canning equipment or techniques. The sugar and acid in the jam preserves the fruit, although refrigerator jam keeps for far less time than classic strawberry preserves, only about two weeks in the refrigerator. This jam will also be a bit looser than regular strawberry jam, as there is no pectin (a thickening agent commonly used in canning) involved. Adjusting the amount of sugar will also affect the looseness of the jam (more sugar equals less loose).
• 1 quart ripe, organic strawberries, hulled and sliced
• ¾- to 1-cup raw organic sugar (or substitute regular granulated sugar), depending on the sweetness of the berries
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Combine the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Bring the strawberry mixture to a rolling boil, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon and mashing the strawberries.
Turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes.
Transfer to clean glass jars and cool.
When completely cool, cover and refrigerate.
Makes about 1.5 pints.


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