So glad it’s the long weekend. My brother-in-law and his girlfriend are coming to stay with us for the holiday weekend. We’ll be wandering around the State Fair together and you can bet cheese curds will be involved! Last year during fair week I posted my State Fair Strawberry Shake inspired by my Dairy Building favorite. This year the raspberry sundae has been at the top of my list. Although I couldn’t sneak to the fair every day this week to have an extra treat, I did make some raspberry frozen yogurt at home to carry me over until tomorrow’s visit.
Let’s be honest…my frozen yogurt and State Fair raspberry sundaes are not the same. No full-fat creamy soft serve (I still need to fit into my shorts a few more times this summer!) and the raspberries have just a hint of added sugar instead of the sweet, gooey red pile at the bottom of the dish. I swoon over raspberry sundaes but know my homemade substitute will do just as well. Besides, this frozen yogurt is full of locavore goodies and a tangy raspberry flavor worthy of a blue-ribbon. It’s perfect for sneaking late-night spoonfuls or for piling on top of a sugar cone. And with only three ingredients, there’s enough time and money left over to ride the ferris wheel on your next trip to the midway.
Where’d I get the berries you ask?
Minnesota fall-bearing raspberry season is in full swing with pick-your-own and pre-pick farms open statewide. Search the Minnesota Grown Directory for your local grower, or check out these Twin Cities Metro sites:
Red Raspberry Frozen Yogurt
Adapted from the Betty Crocker Bridal Edition
4 cups raspberries
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup sugar (to taste depending on how tart you like the final product)
4 cups fat-free vanilla yogurt
1. Prepare 1 quart ice-cream maker. Place a large bowl with cover into the freezer for the finished ice cream. This prevents the extra melting that happens if poured into a room-temperature bowl.
2. Sort and wash raspberries being sure to carefully remove any stems or damaged berries.
3. Place berries in a large bowl and crush using a potato masher until berries are broken apart.
4. Add in sugar and stir 3-4 minutes or until dissolved.
5. Stir in yogurt and pour entire contents into the ice cream maker.
6. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for ice cream. Pour into frozen bowl and allow to cure in the freezer for 4-6 hours before serving.
The kitchen partner and I had a fantastic weekend. I canned 25 pounds of tomatoes for mid-winter and he had some quality time to work on his MBA application. Yesterday, our friends Simon from 20Food.net and his girlfriend Anya asked us to tag along raspberry picking. We headed to Lorence’s Berry Farm in Northfield, MN (about 40 miles south of St. Paul) for a gorgeous afternoon of picking followed by a picnic of fresh local food. Did I mention how cool my friends are?
Keep your eyes out for more raspberry recipes here this week and a list of local patches for pick your own berries. The fall season is just getting started; there’s plenty of time to fill your freezer and stock the pantry full of jam!
You may have noticed it’s been a bit sparse around here this summer. Last July and August you and I shared a locavore moment every few days. This summer. Not so much. Despite my best intentions (and my wild attempts at planning), the past few months have been the complete opposite. New work responsibilities, a ton of weddings and events, and a major “lose all that local food weight you’ve added to your rear-end” campaign turned this summer from lazy days into some of the longest to-do lists of my life. By last week Friday, I hadn’t blogged in over a week. I was behind on hours at work, behind on writing assignments but loathing the thought of doing either. When we climbed in the car after a long week of work I had solidly hit my breaking point. We were on our way to one of my closest high school friend’s wedding in Madison, Wisconsin. Overwhelmed and completely burned out, I even snapped at the kitchen partner for asking the hotel concierge if we had to move the car out of overnight parking in the morning.
Thankfully, wedding days are a good reminder about what’s most important. The best ones make you head home and try a little harder. Be a better friend. Be a better wife. Remember what’s important. I sat in the pew at the ceremony thinking about how life doesn’t have a rewind button. I can’t change how busy and stressful this summer has been. I can’t take back the eye roll and snarky comment I gave the kitchen partner for asking about the parking. I can’t take back the wasted time on Facebook, the whining about jobs and graduate schools, the time I missed with family and friends. Maya Angelou once wrote, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
It’s four days later and I’m still living in the “If you don’t like it. Change it.” mode. Monday came and I really wanted to cook and write more. There’s a fridge full of food and two blog posts finished already. That’s half of what I accomplished in the first three weeks of August. I took the morning off work today to get a haircut, go to the gym, and not stress about what I wasn’t getting done. That’s more than I can say for all of July.
Now I’m finally writing a post about blueberry freezer jam that’s been on my to-do list since I made the batch the second week of July. I thought it was time to share it. I should’ve titled it “Freezer Jam: An Ode to not putting things off anymore.” If I want the time to write again, I’m going to have to stop wishing for it and just start doing it. This freezer jam is one of the few things I made from scratch all summer, but one of the best I’ve ever done. Thanks to Covered Bridge Farm in Forest Lake for the berries. And thanks to the new bride and groom for the reminder of what’s most important!
Blueberry Freezer Jam
3 1/3 cups fresh blueberries
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
4 Tbsp. Ball Instant Pectin for no-cook freezer jam
1. Wash and remove any stems or debris from the berries. Using a potato or fruit masher, crush the berries 1 cup at a time until they form a thick liquid. Set aside.
2. Clean and sterilize 4 half pint or 2 pint freezer jars and lids. Place on a cookie sheet near your workspace for easy clean-up and transportation of finished jars.
3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar and pectin. It’s important that the pectin is evenly distributed to avoid any chunks or runny areas in the jam. Add in blueberries and stir constantly for 3 minutes.
4. Pour jam into freezer jars, being sure to leave at least 1/2 inch head space for freezing. Let stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Refrigerate and eat fresh or freeze for up to one year.
Julia Child would have been 100 today. For those of you who have read Minnesota Locavore from the beginning, you know that she holds a special place in my heart. I’ve written final term papers in college about her life and affinity for butter. She’s brought me back to the kitchen to “learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun.”
Today I’ve had fun reading how she’s shaped and inspired other food writers around the web. (Google and the White House even joined in the celebration!) Bon Appetite everyone!
August is one of the busiest months of the year for locavores. The choices of fruits and veggies are plentiful, the garden is in full production, canning and freezing fill up the weekends. It’s a busy time, but one of the best times to eat more local meals. A no other time of the year is it easier to make meals with fresh local produce. Organizations around the region are getting together to celebrate the season. Here’s some local food events you wont want to miss:
Eat Local, America Challenge at Mississippi Market in St. Paul
August 1-31st, 2012 – Eat Local, America! Challenge - Co-op stores across the nation will be celebrating local food during the month of August. Last year I participated in the Eat, Local America! Challenge by posting an entirely local recipe each day of the month. I’ll be carrying on this month with more favorites, including some home preserving recipes to make the season last longer. Sign up online or at your local co-op and take the Eat Local, America! Challenge.
Image by Seward Co-op
August 4, 2012 – Seward Co-op 40th Anniversary The Seward Co-op in Minneapolis is celebrating 40 years of business this weekend with music, food and activities. From 12-8 p.m. join in the fun at East River Flats Park. The list of local food and beer is worth a look!
Minnesota Garlic Festival – Hutchinson, MN
August 11, 2012 – Minnesota Garlic Festival The Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota is hosting the 7th annual garlic festival in Hutchinson, MN. Not only will there be plenty of garlic treats to go around, some big names in Twin Cities local food (Brasa, Lucia’s, Common Roots and Birchwood Cafe) will be on-hand to share in the fun. There’s also a local beer and wine tasting from 12-5 p.m. that includes a souvenir mug or wine glass with you’re tasting fee.
August 11, 2012 – Community Garden Day Gardening Matters has declared Saturday August 11, 2012 “Community Garden Day” across Minnesota. Gardening enthusiasts around the state will be out on Saturday, touring the more than 50 participating community gardens and sharing in the mid-summer beauty. Gardening Matters has a searchable list of gardens and events here.
August 19, 2012 – The Homegrown Experience Vendors and foodies from around the state will gather at Nicollet Island Pavilion in Minneapolis for the best of local food, beer, and wine in the state at the 3rd Annual Homegrown Experience. A $20 ticket gains access to “sip, sample & purchase” local food as well as watch live chef demos and opportunities to meet farmers and producers.