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Archive for the ‘In The Garden’ Category

Let me just state for the record that I do not have a green thumb.  I try every year to get an herb garden going (or any plant really) and I always kill them.  But since I have a blog now and some people are reading this, I feel like maybe I need to keep them all alive because now you are watching!  It used to be a secret of mine that I can’t keep anything alive (at least nothing that makes noise), but now, with your help…..I WILL keep them going.  Gardening has always been something that I’ve enjoyed.  My mom is a great gardener and I grew up around people who were also great at it.  Being outside is great, sweat on your brow, and a sense of accomplishment are all reasons why I want to keep trying.  The other thing that I love about gardening are……well, the accessories.  The cute watering cans and the pots and the gloves.  You get the idea, any activity that might require some very specific accessories, I’m all about.  So, here are some of my favorite gardening tools this season.

Hanging Air Plant Pod (tm)  - Gorgeous White
beautiful planter from mudpuppy
vintage yellow floral watering can
vintage watering can from lacklusterco
Garla Print Tool Set, Liberty for Target

liberty of london for Target

Little Whimsy Gnome House
this cute lil guy from sunshine ceramics could hang out in my rosemary!
Garden Stakes - Set of 4
I love these simple and beautiful markers from Pigeon Toe Ceramics
What are you growing this season?  Wish me luck on my growing adventure!

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My friends and I went to the St. Paul Farmer’s Market this past weekend and I picked up some rhubarb among other fun things!  I have been wanting to make some jam, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to play around with a recipe and see what I come up with.  Here is a recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb jam with some blueberries (because I had a half pint sitting in the fridge so I thought why not!)

You will need:

1 bunch of rhubarb

1 quart of strawberries

1 cup of sugar

and the zest and juice of 1 lemon

Chop the rhubarb and strawberries into decent sized chunks.  No need to dice or make perfect cuts.

Put all of the chopped pieces into a nice heavy pot.

Next, you want to zest your lemon into the pot.  Make sure to only use the zest and not scrape any of the white stuff (or pith) into your jam.  It’s really bitter and unpleasant!

Then juice your lemon.  I like to hold the lemon up and juice through my fingers incase any seeds pop out.  If you don’t have lemon you could always add 2 tbsp of lemonade or water.  I like the tart lemon flavor with my jam so that it’s not too sweet.

Next, add your 1 cup of sugar.

Now set your stovetop to medium/medium high heat and stir everything around so that all the ingredients are mixed together.

You want to keep stirring, letting the sugar draw out all the juices.  This jam recipe doesn’t require any thickening agents, instead it relies on the natural pectin found in fruits that will make it jell up nicely.  It will just take some time.

It’s hard to see in this picture but, you will want to bring this up to a boil/bubble and keep cooking it and stirring it for about a half an hour.  If you have a candy thermometer, you can temp it to 220 degrees.  Then, turn off the burner and let it sit for 3 hours.  This is when some serious jelling will happen!  Then just jar it up.

This recipe makes about 24 oz of jam.  I didn’t can it using a traditional canning method, so the shelf life (refrigerated) is about 2 weeks.  It won’t last that long in this house, and I gave some to friends.  Eventually, when I make bigger batches I’ll do some more real canning.

What are some of your favorite homemade jams?  Do you know any good homemade bread recipes that I could try out with this??

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