Jam

JAM! What better way to bottle up the Summer’s rays of sunshine than with delicious jams? When the days get shorter, darker and we begin to miss the summer days, we reach in the pantry and take a jar of jam. It always brings us back to the joys of summer. 

Reduce food waste with jams. Yes, you read that right! Jams are a delicious way to use bruised fruits. Often fruits that are a little older are sweeter and actually make better jams. 

In this blog you will learn how to make:

  • Easiest Strawberry Jam
  • Plum Preserves
  • Apricot Preserves
  • Saskatoon and Blueberry Jam

Strawberry Jam

strawberryjam2

Easiest Strawberry Jam

This Strawberry jam is done in 30 minutes with 3 ingredients in 3 easy steps. It doesn’t get any better than this!

This recipe makes 3 cups of jam and can easily be multiplied. You can make this jam with ANY berry. As long as you respect the sugar to berry ratio, your jam will be perfect every time.
  • Total Time 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 pound, 4 cups whole Strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  1. In a pan, combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice. Bring to a boil uncovered on medium heat. Place a plate in the freezer to test when the jam is ready (step 2).
  2. Let boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Test if the jam is ready by placing a few drops on jam on the cold plate and drawing your finger through it. If the jam stays parted it is ready. If you would like small pieces of fruit you can mash the fruit using a potato masher.
  3. Carefully place the jam in clean jars. The jam will keep in the fridge for a week.

Notes

OPTIONAL: If you would like to keep your jam at room temperature you will need to can it. To do so, ensure your jars and lids have been sterilized (you can wash them in the dishwasher on sterilize mode). Bring a large pot of water to a boil and ensure there would be at least 2 inches of water over the jars. Fill the sterilized jars up to 1 inch from the top. Carefully place the lid and thighten  loosely. Place a dish towel at the bottom of the pot to provide a cushion between to bottom of the pot and the glass jars. Place the jars in the boiling water for 5 minutes (1 cup jars). Place the jars of jam on the counter to let them cool. You will hear the lid sceal and they will make a "pop" sound. If after a few hours, you didnt hear the sound, lightly press on the button on top of the lid, if it stays down the jars are scealed. 

Plum Jam

plum jam

Plum Preserve

Let’s take jam up a notch and move from the breakfast comfort of Strawberry jam to the dinner party. This plum preserve is lightly spiced with star anise. Plum preserve is amazing to serve with a cheese board. We love eating it with French bread, brie, and pear slices.

This recipe makes 4 cups of jam and can easily be multiplied.
  • Total Time 80 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 pounds, 5 cups diced plums
  • 3 star anise

Instructions

  1. In a pan, combine the plums, sugar and star anise. Let sit for an hour or until the fruit becomes syrupy with the sugar. Bring to a boil uncovered on medium heat. Place a plate in the freezer to test when the preserve is ready (step 2).
  2. Let boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Test if the preserve is ready by placing a few drops on jam on the cold plate and drawing your finger through it. If the preserves stays parted it is ready.
  3. Carefully place the preserve in clean jars. The preserve will keep in the fridge for a week.

Notes

OPTIONAL: If you would like to keep your preserves at room temperature you will need to can it. To do so, ensure your jars and lids have been sterilized (you can wash them in the dishwasher on sterilize mode). Bring a large pot of water to a boil and ensure there would be at least 2 inches of water over the jars. Fill the sterilized jars up to 1 inch from the top. Carefully place the lid and thighten  loosely. Place a dish towel at the bottom of the pot to provide a cushion between to bottom of the pot and the glass jars. Place the jars in the boiling water for 5 minutes (1 cup jars). Place the jars of preserve on the counter to let them cool. You will hear the lid sceal and they will make a "pop" sound. If after a few hours, you didnt hear the sound, lightly press on the button on top of the lid, if it stays down the jars are scealed. 

Apricot Preserves

Apricot jam

Apricot Preserves

This apricot preserves is based on an old French recipes and represents the best of French country cuisine – delicious and simple.

Makes 3 cups. This recipe can easily be multiplied to make a larger quantity.
  • Total Time 60 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar OR honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 pound, 3 cups diced apricot (save 1 pit)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp almonds

Instructions

  1. Open 1 apricot pit and remove the almond like nut in it. Chop it coarsly. Chop coarsly the almonds. In a pan, combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice. Bring to a boil uncovered on medium heat. Place a plate in the freezer to test when the jam is ready (step 3).
  2. In a pot, add the sugar OR honey and water. bring to a boil uncovered on medium heat. Add the apricots, lemon juice, choped apricot pit and almonds.
  3. Let boil for about 30 minutes. Test if the preserve is ready by placing a few drops on jam on the cold plate and drawing your finger through it. If the jam stays parted it is ready.
  4. Carefully place the preserve in clean jars. The jam will keep in the fridge for a week.

Notes

OPTIONAL: If you would like to keep your preserves at room temperature you will need to can it. To do so, ensure your jars and lids have been sterilized (you can wash them in the dishwasher on sterilize mode). Bring a large pot of water to a boil and ensure there would be at least 2 inches of water over the jars. Fill the sterilized jars up to 1 inch from the top. Carefully place the lid and thighten  loosely. Place a dish towel at the bottom of the pot to provide a cushion between to bottom of the pot and the glass jars. Place the jars in the boiling water for 5 minutes (1 cup jars). Place the jars of preserves on the counter to let them cool. You will hear the lid sceal and they will make a "pop" sound. If after a few hours, you didnt hear the sound, lightly press on the button on top of the lid, if it stays down the jars are scealed. 

Saskatoon and Blueberry Jam

blueberry jam

Saskatoon and Blueberry Jam

This Saskatoon and Blueberry jam is done in 30 minutes with 3 ingredients in 3 easy steps. It doesn’t get any better than this! This recipe makes 3 cups of jam and can easily be multiplied. You can make this jam with ANY berry. As long as you respect the sugar to berry ratio, your jam will be perfect every time.
  • Total Time 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 pound, 2 cups Saskatoon berries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 pound, 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  1. In a pan, combine the berries, sugar, lemon juice. Bring to a boil uncovered on medium heat. Place a plate in the freezer to test when the jam is ready (step 2).
  2. Let boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Test if the jam is ready by placing a few drops on jam on the cold plate and drawing your finger through it. If the jam stays parted it is ready. If you would like small pieces of fruit you can mash the fruit using a potato masher.
  3. Carefully place the jam in clean jars. The jam will keep in the fridge for a week.

Notes

OPTIONAL: If you would like to keep your jam at room temperature you will need to can it. To do so, ensure your jars and lids have been sterilized (you can wash them in the dishwasher on sterilize mode). Bring a large pot of water to a boil and ensure there would be at least 2 inches of water over the jars. Fill the sterilized jars up to 1 inch from the top. Carefully place the lid and thighten  loosely. Place a dish towel at the bottom of the pot to provide a cushion between to bottom of the pot and the glass jars. Place the jars in the boiling water for 5 minutes (1 cup jars). Place the jars of jam on the counter to let them cool. You will hear the lid sceal and they will make a "pop" sound. If after a few hours, you didnt hear the sound, lightly press on the button on top of the lid, if it stays down the jars are scealed. 

The Art of Making Bread – Overnight

We are taking you on a journey to discover Saskatchewan through your kitchen. The art of making bread has been passed from generation to generation in our family and we are proud to share this beautiful satisfying art with you.

Rosemary olive bread - baked

Olive Rosemary Bread

Olive and rosemary are a delicious pairing of flavours. This bread can be made with ingredients sourced from farmers and producers of Saskatchewan. This recipe is a delicious side for the Minestrone Soup on the ZestyKits menu next week.
  • Prep Time 5 Minutes
  • Cook Time 45-50 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp liquid honey
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh or dry rosemary
  • 3/4 cup pitted black olives
  • 1 3/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. Disolve the honey into the water.
  2. Combine all ingredients (water last) in a large bowl. We love using a wooden spoon. Ensure there is no dry flour left. Cover with a tea towel and let rise from 8 to 18 hours.
  3. Once you are ready to bake the bread, turn on the oven to 450F. Place a 3 qt or larger dutch oven in the oven to heat up. While the oven is heating, place the risen dough on floured parchment paper and shape the dough into a ball. Garnish the top of the bread as desired. We used rosemary and finishing salt.
  4. Carefully remove the hot dutch oven from the oven. Lift the bread with the parchment paper and place the dough and parchment paper in the dutch oven. Cover and bake 30 minutes covered. Remove the lid and continue to bake for approximately 15 minutes.
  5. Bon appetit!

Notes

It is very important to heat up the dutch oven before adding the bread. This will create a contrast in temperature that will make your crust crispy. You can make this recipe using ingredients sourced from Saskatchewan farmers and producers. We used flour from R&J milling, rosemary from splendor garden, yeast from Local & Fresh, local honey and  black olives from the Italian Star Deli.

Flat Out Delicious

What is Flat Out Delicious?

Flat Out Delicious is a valuable travel book that takes us on a journey to meet Saskatchewan’s farmers and producers. This book captures the stories and values of Saskatchewan’s resilient and inspiring farmers and producers. Through their stories and beautiful photography, we are taken behind the scenes, into the fields, kitchens and backstores of each food artisan. This book reveals the breadth and depth of Saskatchewan food landmarks. Each story is an opportunity to fall in love with our local culinary artisans.   

Through this book we discover Saskatchewan’s varied personalities and culinary experience. These 167 stories cumulate into this beautiful expression of Saskatchewan’s nickname: Les grenier du monde, the world’s attic. From grain fields that expand as far as the eye can see to northern boreal forest, Saskatchewan is home to one of Canada’s most unique food systems. Saskatchewan’s farmers and producers have been rising quietly for decades; Flat Out Delicious is a tribute to their legacy. 

Picture by our beautiful cousin and friend Myriam @the.farm.folk 
Our little cousin, Asher, and Zina are enjoying the sun after a long rain.

Why we love Flat Out Delicious

We received our book less than 10 days ago and are flat out in love with it! We expected a lot from this book and have received way more than we could have hoped for. 

The main reasons we have such a strong connection with Flat Out Delicious are:

  • It aligns with our roots
  • It tells the story of ZestyKits’ stars 
  • It bring awareness to the value of eating local 
  • It is truly a labour of love

Aligns with ZestyKits’ Roots

Picture by our dear friend and cousin Myriam @the.farm.folk 
Havilah playing in her “bean house”. It’s the little memories that will last a lifetime. 

Growing up with a French background, our parents raised us with artisanally produced simple ingredients. We lived across the road from an artisanal vegetable and fruit farm which we visited regularly to buy seasonal produce. Our parents promoted the importance of knowing where our food comes from, to eat the best quality ingredients produced as close to home as possible. They helped us understand that our wealth is our health while money comes and goes. Even though we grew up with limited resources, our parents always supported artisanal farmers and producers. They raised us with a deep respect for food and understanding of the impact it has on our personal health and on our community’s health. 

Picture by our dear friend and cousin Myriam @the.farm.folk 
Our mother and Myriam’s mother both had this bread knife since before we were born. This bread knife reminds us of the smell of warm breads our mothers made.

Artisanal food production is in our blood; from the dairy farm on which our mother was raised to the strawberry fields our great uncle harvested until his 96th birthday. Our parents artisanally raised bees and chicken for our family and dreamt of, one day, owning an artisanal farm. They value learning the stories of the farmers and producers behind each ingredient. Growing up some of our best memories include picking raspberries under the hot sun of June and apples with the cold breeze of September. We remember visiting artisanal farms including cheese, vegetables, berry, honey, goat, and ostrich farms. We fondly remember meeting the farmers, hearing their stories, meeting the animals, feeling the dirt between our toes, smelling the fresh air and tasting the delicious food. Food nourishes more than our bodies, it nourishes our soul, it nourishes our community. 

Picture by our dear friend and cousin Myriam @the.farm.folk 
“In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow.
In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention.
And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sittling still” – Pico Lyer

When we moved to Saskatchewan from Quebec, we learned to know farmers and producers that give this province the nickname of les grenier de monde, the worlds’ attic. It is through taking the time to truly feel and experience Saskatchewan over the past 20 years, that the land of living sky became part of our soul. 

Picture by our dear friend and cousin Myriam @the.farm.folk 
Our little cousin, Asher, planted the corn in the background himself.

We created ZestyKits to empower families to come back to the roots, to reconnect with food, to get to know their producers, to discover delicious food farmed and produced with love.

ZestyKits' Stars

Picture by our dear friend and cousin Myriam @the.farm.folk 
“You know you love your chicken when you watch them play in the yard more than you watch tv” – Myriam

Picture by our dear friend and cousin Myriam @the.farm.folk 
The ladies enjoying the mild weather in early March.

Jenn’s book tells the stories of many farmers and producers who are the stars behind every ZestyKits meal. We strongly encourage you to, not only read the book, but also use it as a travel guide – once physical distancing ends. Go visit the farmers and producers of Saskatchewan’s food, go meet the friendly faces behind the food you eat, go feel the dirt between your toes, go smell the fresh air. You will discover a new love and respect for food as well as the farmers and producers behind it. 

Value of Local Food

At ZestyKits we believe supporting local farmers is supporting health. If we are what we eat, understanding where our food comes from and valuing high-quality local food is a priority.  As Jenn eloquently said in Flat Out Delicious, we believe the key factor when it comes to personal health, sustainability and community economic health is the way our food is grown, raised and how far it travels. As Jenn does in Flat Out Delicious, we encourage you to be curious about the history of your food. Similarly to many important choices such as a trainer, hairdresser, house builder or insurance company; our daily food choices have a significant impact. Our daily food choices impact our personal health and our community health. We encourage you to think of food not as fuel for our bodies but as an investment in our health and our communities. These daily choices are building Saskatchewan’s vibrant future food system.

Picture by our dear friend and cousin Myriam @the.farm.folk 
Asher is having fun in the garden and smiling at his little sister who brings powdered doughnuts. Life is about the little pleasures. 

Labour of Love

Picture by our dear friend and cousin Myriam @the.farm.folk 
Havilah holding a spring chick on her heart. 

Between the lines of each artisan’s story, we can feel the author’s love for the community and her joy to share Saskatchewan’s food history. Through the lines of Flat Out Delicious we can feel the passion of the pioneers who create Saskatchewan’s food ecosystem. From thriving as multi-generational farmers, to producers who recently left corporate jobs to pursue their dream, Saskatchewan’s food ecosystem is broad, thriving and growing. Reading each story inspires pride for Saskatchewan and demonstrates how bright Saskatchewan food’s future is. 

Meet Jenn & Richard

Jenn Sharp

Having had the pleasure to get to know Jenn Sharp, we consider her a kindred spirit and a dear friend. Her passion and love for Saskatchewan’s farmers and producers is contagious and a joy to see. For five years, Jenn was a featured writer, columnist, and editor at the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. She currently writes the Flat Out Food column for the StarPhoenix and the Regina Leader-Post. Jenn is a regular contributor to CBC Saskatchewan and Eat North as well as has been featured in a variety of Canadian publications.

Picture by Richard Marjan

Richard Marjan

Photo credit: http://moore4mayor.ca/endorsements/richard-marjan-endorses-kelley-moore-for-mayor/

Richard Marjan’s photography throughout Flat Out Delicious speaks volume to his talent as a photographer. They say a picture is worth a thousand words; this is especially true of the photographs found in this book. Each photo beautifully represents the story of Saskatchewan’s food history, they take us on a journey with them. Richard is an award winning retired photojournalist for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. His work appeared in Canadian Geographic, the New York Times, and the Globe and Mail.

@the.farm.folk

The beautiful photography in this blog is by @the.farm.folk

Myriam is our dear friend and cousin. She is raising two amazing children with her husband on their farm in Northern Saskatchewan. Our mothers were sisters and best friends. We grew up as sisters than more cousins and moved to Saskatchewan within a week of each other. It is such a joy for us to share her photography and a glimpse of her life with you. 

7 Easy Ways to Reduce Food Expenses

Food Price Spike in 2020

Canada’s Food Price Report  predicts food price spike in 2020!

7 Easy Ways to Reduce your Food Costs
1. Less restaurants

Restaurant food often comes with extra calories, too much fat, salt, aditives as well as a deficience in fiber and vitamins. As if that wasn’t enough to encourage you to cook more at home, eating out is very expensive and is becoming more expensive.  Menu prices in Canada rose 4.2% last year and are anticipated to increase up to 4% in 2020! Spending at restaurants has increased by more than $670 per household between 2010 and 2017.

ZestyKits meal plans make it easy and convenient to cook at home as well as reduce your overall food cost.

2. Eat more plant based meals

The cost of meat products are anticipated to increase by up to 6% in 2020! Canadians spend nearly 20% of our food budget on red meat and chicken. Learning to prepare delicious plant based meals will significantly reduce your food costs.

A good plant based recipe has as much protein as a meal with meat and is filling! You won’t miss the meat and with delicious whole grains and legumes, you will feel full for hours. Some of our favourite plant-based meals include:

  • Ratatouille pasta: Chickpea pasta tossed in a rich tomato sauce and oven roasted eggplant, red bell peppers, black olives and fresh basil
  • Mexi bowls: Black beans, diced avocado, romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, salsa, brown rice and shredded cheddar topped with fresh cilantro.

ZestyKits offers a Clean Food plan which includes 1 meal plant based to help you discover new delicious plant based recipe. If you are ready to eat fully plant-based we also offer a Plant-Based and Vegan plan.

3. Make a meal plan

Making a plan is very important when it comes to managing grocery costs. Going around the grocery aisles aimelessly often results in frustration and poor food choices. Without a plan, it is common to buy too much food that will end up rotting in your fridge.

We love to plan our weekly menu using ZestyKits’ weekly menu. We plan to prepare ZestyKits meal kits during our busiest days.

4. Eat home-made meals more often

Make more meals from scratch. Canada’s 2018 Dietary Guidelines recommend cooking more to support health. Not only does cooking provide a number of health benefits, it saves you a lot of money! Cooking from scratch requires a bit more time and the effort can be well woth it, both for your wallet and your waisline.

ZestyKits meal plans make it easy and convenient to cook at home and involve the kids in meal preparation, empowering you to easily make dinner time family time. 

5. Eat seasonal fruits & vegetables

Fruit and vegetables take up almost 24% of the average Canadian’s grocery list. To promote health, it is recommended to eat more vegetables. 

The secret to eating more vegetables and still manage cost is to buy more fruits and vegetables that are in season. Load up on local fruits and vegetables when they are in season and freeze them for later use. 

During the winter, fresh produces increase significantly in price. To reduce your grocery bill, load up on frozen produces, which have similar nutritional value and are alot more affordable. 

Not only does ZestyKits offer tons of seasonal products, we purchase ingredients grown or prepared right here… in the Canadian Prairies!

6. Reduce food waste

Purchase only what you need to decrease your food waste as well as your carbon footprint. Reducing food waste is easy when planning meals and using a locally sourced meal kit service like ZestyKits. 

7. Don't shop hungry

Hunger creates a desire to aquire. Research shows that shopping hungry results in spending increase of 64%. Shopping hungry increases spending even when not shopping for food. To reduce your risk of over spending, have a snack before shopping to stabilize your blood sugar.

Having 3 delicious ZestyKits meals delivered every week prevents last minute hungry grocery run – saving you time and money.

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