Preserving the season’s bounty is a time honoured tradition on the farm. Not only does preserving produce allow us to eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables all year long; preserving also ensures that nothing we grow goes to waste. Throughout history farmers have preserved their produce to prevent food spoilage. Preserving fruit in the form of jam dates back to the ancient Greeks where they cooked fruit with honey before cooling and storing it.
Today, we continue the preserving tradition in the farm kitchen as we make juice, jam, syrup, relish, chutney, sauces, and pickles. When our crops are producing abundantly, we harvest and prepare what we can’t sell in the fresh market. We limit food waste by freezing produce, preserving, and making soup and prepared meals that can be enjoyed in the off season.
The farm kitchen is a busy place year around. Each year we hand pack and pour over 7000 jars of preserves for sale at our farm market and to other local markets. We also prepare custom preserve orders for our customers. In the winter we focus on preparing jam, jelly, and syrup from the fruit we harvested and froze in the summer months. In the spring we start with preserving asparagus and rhubarb and then make chutney, juice, pickles, and relishes in the summer months. We finish off in the kitchen in the fall as we prepare more pickles and soup, and freeze our produce to enjoy throughout the winter.
Our most popular preserves are fruit jams. When surveying our customers, Strawberry jam was the most liked jam, followed by Raspberry, and Rhubarb Raspberry. Jam is a very versatile product and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. Breakfast is so much tastier when jam is added to a bowl of plain oatmeal or yogurt, or even stuffed inside crêpes and French toast. Jam and cheese pair well together. For a special treat, add a few dollops of jam to baked brie or spread a thick layer of jam inside a grilled cheese. A charcuterie board is so much more impressive and tasty with a little jar of jam. Jam makes a delicious glaze on pork and chicken and can be mixed with BBQ sauce. Fruit jam can be used as a replacement for fresh fruit in many dessert recipes. Have some fun experimenting in the kitchen this month with jam. With 11 flavours to choose from at Lennox Farm, we are sure everyone in your family will find a flavour they love!
At the farm we are often asked if we want empty jars to be returned. Although with proper sterilization and new lids they can be perfectly safe to reuse, we prefer to use only new jars when making preserves. For the health and safety of our customers, we do not accept or reuse jars from customers. However, we don’t let anything go to waste. We do reuse clean, empty jars as vases for our cut flowers arrangements. In the farmhouse we often use empty jars to safely store baking supplies, spices, and various dry ingredients. Jam jars can be reused for packing lunch snacks and salads or making individual desserts. There are hundreds of decorative uses for empty jars, such as centerpieces, candleholders, and crafts. Recently preserving supplies have become in high demand and glass jars are often difficult to find. Why not offer your empty jars to a neighbour or friend. Check out local buy and sell or give groups – you will likely find some home cooks very interested in your jars!