I can assure you that when I got up this morning, I had absolutely no plans to make strawberry jam, nor did I even think about pulling out my electric pressure cooker. I already had a full plate of items to attend to, so to speak, with only one day left before time to go back to work, and I fully intended to check the items off my list like a good little mechanical girl…but that’s not what happened!
Hubby and I had planned a quick trip to the local Farmer’s Market. Now this isn’t your every day gathering place for farmers, where they bring food out of their fields in the back of their trucks and bargain with the passers-by. Nope, this Farmer’s Market is really probably a Farmer’s Market only because it is named as such. Yes, they do buy their produce regionally, but the prices are pretty upscale, and maybe that’s not so bad, considering the quality of product they provide. They are open year-round and they are located in a shed, which at least can be closed to the elements in the winter, but is quite warm in the summer. Aw, heck. What am I saying? It’s hot as blazes in there!
It has been a long-standing tradition at my Farmer’s Market that produce left over from the day before is frequently marked down to $1.00 for a good-sized bag. These are often squash, onions, bell peppers, potatoes, your typical produce. But if you know when and where to look…sometimes you will find strawberries! Beautiful strawberries that just happen to be a tiny bit overripe. Just perfect for, for example, strawberry jam!
And I found six bags of these gorgeous, marked-down strawberries this morning! Quickly I checked to see what other customers were around; there was one couple. They weren’t making a bee-line for the marked-down produce, so I took that as my clue that they didn’t care whether I bought them all or not. I didn’t waste any time asking!
It just so happens that I recently bought a fantastic new electric pressure cooker, and since I bought it I have been kicking myself, wondering why on earth I waited so many years to get one! Yes, they are more expensive than the stove-top kind, but now I realize how much easier they are to operate…I am still kicking myself!
It was practically no time at all before I had the strawberries hulled, crushed, and sweetened, and the jars getting sterilized. It only took a little while longer to cook the jam, fill the jars and in 30 minutes they were ready to take out of the pressure cooker! What fun! What ease. NO sweat and no lost heat in the kitchen! One of the nicer things about the electric cooker is that you can put it anywhere there’s an electrical plug, even outside, and it doesn’t lose nearly as much heat as a standard stove-top pressure cooker. It’s a winner all around!
I was all done in about an hour and a half, and a good part of that time was just waiting on the cooker to cook and then cool down.
I love my new electric pressure cooker and you can bet I’m going to be haunting the Farmer’s Market for other marked-down produce next weekend. Let’s see….strawberries, peaches, plums. This is one summer I am going to remember fondly all winter!(As an aside to those who know me: No, I haven’t lost my mind! There is not one iota of added sugar in this jam! I used a combination of sweeteners like stevia and erythritol and a package of pectin for no sugar added jams!)