This week's SMS was hosted by Tracey at Tracey's Culinary Adventures. The group has made the master preserves recipe from the book a couple times, but this was my first time cooking along. With the surplus of strawberries that have been around our place lately, it certainly was a timely recipe for me! What can I say? I ended up with two of these after stopping by the market after a hard gym session. They just spoke to me =)
While I had no problem finding strawberries, the rhubarb was a tougher search. Having lived most of my life in the Midwest, rhubarb is something that I have never had to buy from the store. You can usually find someone with a plant in their yard who is begging people to take some, and while I never had a plant of my own, I usually had a bag of it hanging in my freezer. I ended up calling around to most of the stores in the area, but no one here has any fresh rhubarb yet. Thankfully, a couple of people suggested looking for it in the frozen fruit section. Success. Now, I know where to look if I can't find any fresh!
As for the recipe, I never knew that making preserves could be this easy! Melissa's recipe uses apples as a source of natural pectin, so the recipe consists entirely of fruit and sugar. The texture ends up a little less "jello-ey" than store purchased jellies, but it still thickens up nicely. In fact, I enjoyed the change in texture as it made the preserves much easier to change. While the recipe called for a little more sugar than the master recipe, the resultant preserves did not end up too sweet. I halved the recipe and also froze half the resultant preserves. If it says anything about how much we've enjoyed it, the portion that I kept in our refrigerator is almost gone. Check out the SMS page to see how the other bakers did, and a big thanks Tracey for a great, seasonal pick!