[Gay Cook]

Raspberry jamThese last few weeks have been busy for harvesting and preserving our garden’s bounty or finding the many colourful fruits and vegetables in local markets. They are calling out to be preserved or frozen.
My tomatoes are ready so I like to freeze some for soups and others are I make into a simple sauce for pizzas, pastas and casseroles and place them in plastic containers to be frozen. For soups, I coarsely chop the tomatoes, place about 1 cup (250 ml) into small Ziploc plastic bags and freeze them. They are ready for any winter soup. The sauce recipe follows.
When using herbs, remember dried herbs need to added at the beginning of the cooking to retrieve their flavour and essential oils while fresh herbs are added only at the very end so the flavour and essential oils are captured and not lost in the cooking.

Tomato Sauce for Pizza, Pasta, Pulses, Fish or Meat     
Makes 6 cups

  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 kg (2 lbs) fresh tomatoes
  • ¼ to ½ tsp (1 – 2 ml) crushed red pepper or to taste
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) coarse salt or to taste and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh torn basil or 2 tsp (10 ml) dried basil
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh oregano or 2 tsp (10 ml) dried oregano

1.  Heat oil in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic until soft but not brown, at least 10 minutes

2.  Cut out the core of tomatoes and cut tomatoes in half and remove the white core root. Add tomatoes to food processor or use immersion blender to puree tomatoes. Add the red pepper, salt and half the black pepper and herbs if they are dried. Simmer, half covered until thick about 25 minutes.

3.  If using fresh herb, pull the petals off the large stems and finely chop. Stir in the fresh herbs at the very end.

4.  To store, place in plastic containers, cover and freeze.

Raspberry Jam   Approximately 8 cups (2 L) jars

This jam is one of the most perfect and easy jams to make with its fragrance and rich flavour.

  • 2 lbs (2 litres) raspberries
  • 2 lbs (2 litres) granulated sugar

1. Place the raspberries in a large saucepan. Use a potato masher to mash the fruit and bring to gently boil. Meanwhile place the sugar in a large bake pan and place in a 300ºF (160ºC) oven for 5 minutes to heat the sugar. Stir in the sugar until well combined; bring to a full boil. Reduce the heat to a gently boil and cook and cook about 6 to 7 minute
2. To test the gelling point, place small spoonful of the jam on a saucer and place in the freezer for 5 to 6 minutes. Press the jam with your finger; if the jam has jelled, remove the jam from the heat. Leave it to settle for 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, place the jars on a bake sheet and place in the oven to be sterilized for 10 minutes. To sterilize the lids immerse in water and simmer to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and keep the lids in the water until ready to place on the jars.
4. Ladle jam into the sterilized jars. Wipe the rim of any dripped jam.  Seal the jars with sterilized lids and apply the screw band until finer tight. Allow the jars to cool before storing in a cool dark place. 

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