Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sharing our CommonGround

Last week, I was invited to an evening of Conversations about Farming and Food hosted by South Dakota CommonGround volunteers. The event was held at Wilde Prairie Winery near Brandon, SD in their beautifully restored barn. After a social hour featuring tastings of South Dakota wines and a wonderfully catered meal by Chef Dominique, the coalition of farm women spoke with us about who they are and the food that they grow.

As stated on their website, South Dakota CommonGround is a group of farm women working to dispel myths about modern agriculture and build trust in farming communities and farm families. They want to answer questions and share facts as well as their personal stories of farm life.

The dinner conversations at the table which I joined ranged from the differences in how chickens can be raised, eggs, organic fruits and vegetables, antibiotics, the financial realities of farming, and factory farms. The discussions covered personal experiences and scientific facts and research. No topic was too large or small. It was a solidly informative conversation about food with the people who produce it.

In the future, I hope to expand more on our discussions and possibly even have guest blog posts from some of the amazing farm women that I met at the event. Their goal of helping consumers understand how food is grown by farm families and to trust the process is very important.

As we introduced ourselves during the social hour, I was frequently asked about the focus of my blog. It really hasn't changed much since I first started babbling back in 2006. I like food. I enjoy my lazy version of gardening; I like researching recipes, planning menus, preparing meals, and most importantly, sharing them with friends and family. From time to time, I throw in little peeks at what is on my plate in the rest of my life. Basically, this blog truly is my menu with a little life thrown in.

Recently, my life has involved my garden harvest. Lots and lots of yellow tomatoes led me to search out recipes for preserving. The low acidic content makes them less suitable for the water bath canning methods of traditional tomatoes, but their sweetness is perfect for jams and jellies. Spicy Yellow Tomato Jam was one solution for my abundance of lemon-colored orbs.

It seems that I am not the only one with fruitful yellow tomatoes. One of the guests at the CommonGround event also mentioned being overrun. So...this is how it is in our farming community, families trusting and sharing with other families, passing on information, ideas, and even recipes.

Spicy Yellow Tomato Jam
(adapted from Canning Homemade)

3 1/2 cups diced yellow tomatoes
1/2 cup lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
3-4 fresh red chile peppers, chopped finely (jalapenos that have ripened in the garden work well; red bell peppers won't offer as much heat)
2 cups sugar
2 packets (from one package) liquid pectin

Chop the tomatoes finely. (I left skins and seeds intact for more texture in the jam.)
Bring to a boil in a large stock pot, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat; cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
Add lemon juice, thyme, and peppers, stirring to combine. 
Add sugar and return to boil, stirring often.
Add pectin and return to a full roaring boil for 1 minute. 
Remove from heat and skim off foam.
Ladle into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. 
Seal with rings and lids.
Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes. (Yields roughly 3 pints...which I always can in 1/4 or 1/2 pint jars.)
(If you are unsure of the canning process, there are many informative sites online. I am not a canning authority.)
I like researching recipes, planning menus, preparing meals, and most importantly sharing them with friends and family. - See more at: http://my-plate.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html#sthash.XuPsAJy6.dpuf

1 comment:

  1. Sounds heavenly- although I admit that I've never tried canning. Maybe a project for next week :)


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