Food Journeys, Pickles & Jam
Comments 34

Summer Fruit Picking: Mixed Berries & Chia Seed Jam


 

 

Spring & Summer outdoor activities are synonymous with farm visits and fresh berry picking. With an abundance of  summer berries ranging from strawberries, raspberries, Saskatoon berries and black currants, one is spoilt for choice through the summer. We visited Brooks farms located in  East Gwillianbury, Ontario a couple of weeks ago. This family run farm has vast acres of various  Berries, Peas, & Sunflowers.

The sheer joy of walking through the fields and getting to pick your own berries is very relaxing and therapeutic indeed. Covid measures were in place when we arrived at the farm.One was able to buy ones baskets at the entrance of the fields. These baskets were of various sizes depending on the quantity one required. The farm also hosts a covered farmers market store that stocked on various fresh farm produce including asparagus, rhubarb, snap peas and corn. They also had a great variety of honey and maple syrup, home made old fashioned fudge and a variety of dairy and meat products.

 

Berry picking is a delicious and fun  family activity and who can resist picking farm fresh berries and bringing them home to be later on turned into delicious jams, preserves, chutneys and toppings on various desserts. We had a great time at Brooks farms and were lucky to still catch the last of the PYO (Pick Your Own) Strawberries. Driving a little ahead of the strawberry fields,we discovered some raspberries  & saskatoon berries that were just about ripening.

 

Brooks Farms is located at:

122 Ashworth road

Mount albert

ON L0G 1M0

call us: (905)473-3246

email us: info@brooksfarms.com

Now while Im quite the city slicker, its absolutely fantastic to get out into these farms and enjoy the fresh air and the joy of picking ones own berries and vegetables. We are indeed blessed here in Toronto to be surrounded by a variety of local farms that offer picking fresh produce. Quite happy with my bounty of mixed berries, I was quite happily making notes of the various ways of cooking and baking with them. Berries are such luscious fruit and can be used in practically anything.Jam making for sure was top of my mind along with a berry compote (to be had over pancakes) and perhaps I could even freeze a batch of the strawberries for later use, I thought to myself. The rest of-course could just be eaten fresh.

Here is a ready reckoner for various produce that gives details of harvest times depending on weather and climate conditions:

Source: http://www.pickyourown.org

MAY JUNE JULY AUG SEPT-OCT
Asparagus

 

Asparagus
Beets
Broccoli
Carrots
Cauliflower
Cucumbers
Kohlrabi
Lettuce
Peas
Rhubarb
Straw-
berries
Zucchini
Apples
Beans
Beans
Beets
Broad Beans
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Cherries(sour)
Cucumbers
Currants
Eggplant
Gooseberries
Kohlrabi
Lettuce
Okra
Potatoes
Peas
Raspberries
Rhubarb
Strawberries
Summer Squash
Swiss Chard
Tomatoes
Zucchini
Apples
Beans
Beets
Broad Beans
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Cherries(sour)
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Garlic
Globe
Artichoke
Herbs
Kale
Kohlrabi
Leeks
Lettuce
Melons
Okra
Onions
Parsley
Parsnips
Pears
Plums
Potatoes
Peas
Peppers
Rhubarb
Rutabagas
Summer Squash
Sweet Corn
Swiss Chard
Tomatoes
Winter Squash
Zucchini
Apples
Beans
Beets
Broad Beans
Broccoli
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Garlic
Globe
Artichoke
Gourds
Grapes
Herbs
Indian Corn
Kale
Kohlrabi
Leeks
Lettuce
Okra
Onions
Parsley
Parsnips
Pears
Peppers
Plums
Potatoes
Quince
Rutabagas
Salad Greens
Summer Squash
Sweet Corn
Swiss Chard
Tomatoes
Winter Squash
Zucchini

 

Tips For Picking Strawberries:

  1. Look for dark red strawberries: It is important to choose good red strawberries. avoid the ones that are still whitish or yellowish at the tips.
  2. They should be firm and plum to the touch.
  3. Grab the berry stem. When you’re ready to pick a strawberry, hold the stem  1-inch above the berry between your index finger and thumbnail. Cradle the fruit against your palm without squeezing to avoid damaging the berry.

Tips for Storing Strawberries:

Well here is an easy round up of where the berries went into.I started off with an easy strawberry jam that is pectin free and I’ve gone ahead and added some chia seeds for thickening. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does.

I could easily see berry picking becoming a summer time ritual.

 

There’s something very comforting about the ritual of jam-making. It speaks of cellars filled with preserves; of neat rows of jars on pantry shelves. It speaks of winter mornings and bowls of chocolat au lait, with thick slices of good fresh bread and last year’s peach jam, like a promise of sunshine at the darkest point of the year. It speaks of four stone walls, a roof, and of seasons that turn in the same place, in the same way, year after year, with sweet familiarity. It is the taste of home.”

― Joanne Harris, Peaches for Monsieur le Curé

 

 

 

Strawberry- Chia Jam

Ingredients:

  • 300 g Strawberries ( Washed, hulled & Sliced)
  • 50 g saskatoon berries
  • 50 g raspberries
  • 2 tsp chia seeds 
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
  • 25 grams Truvia Cane Sugar Blend (sweetener)

Directions:

  • Slice  the strawberries and sprinkle with one teaspoon of the Truvia cane sugar blend for about 30 minutes.
  • Now place the strawberries in a saucepan and stir in the rest of the sweetener. Mix well.
  • Bring to the boil (lid on), then turn down the heat medium and let it bubble away for 20 minutes or till a bit thicker in consistency.
  • Mash the strawberries with a potato masher (or with a fork), then continue to cook on low-medium for another 30 minutes until reduced by half.  Stir regularly with a spatula to prevent the jam from burning. Towards the end of cooking, stir constantly.
  • Taste the jam and if necessary add a bit more of the sweetener. Take the jam off the heat.
  • Add the chia seeds and stir. Cool and fill into a sterilised jar. Store in the fridge.

34 Comments

    • Yes indeed Ronit, Summers in Ontario have berries in abundance! We got lucky with some delicious assorted ones…the jam did turn out great thank you!

    • Yes Judi..this jam is without any added pectin and also I’ve used Truvia as a sweetener instead of sugar, as a result it tends to be a bit runny after cooking. The Chia seeds act as a gelling agent and cause the jam to set on cooling..yes please do try his out:))

  1. Laura says

    Berry picking is so much fun! Love all the great info you’ve provided. Adding chia seeds to jam is such a great idea, can’t wait to try it 🙂

    • Yes indeed Laura…its a fun way to be outdoors in the summer! Do try the jam making with Chia seeds, it gives the jam a wonderful texture…thank for stopping by!

  2. Sharon says

    I LOVE picking fruit. It’s such a rewarding activity! 🙂 As kids, we would take empty ice cream buckets (4-gallon tubs!) and spend hours picking blackberries along the train tracks where we lived. Then my mom would turn it all into many, many jars of jam. Great post! Left a smile on my face. 🙂

  3. Every time you take a bite of that jam this winter, you will be reminded of the summer day you picked all those beautiful berries. Enjoy!

    • Thanks Karen yes indeed.. the summer will to be almost over soon…good to reminded of the wonderful outdoors during winter…hope you are well:))

    • Hi Cynthia…give this recipe a try it sure turns out delicious…the chia actually absorbs the liquid from the jam and softens in the jam so does not give a gritty texture…thanks for stopping by:))

  4. I love seasonal summer fruit jam. The color is amazing and goes well with any bread. My wife recently made blueberry jam and used it as a stuffing for modak.

    • Absolutely nothing beats flavours of freshly made jam..wow the modak filling with jam sounds divine! Can just imagine the flavours..have a great day!

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