Urban Farmer, Portland, OR
As summer rolls in, Portland’s farmer’s markets overflow from an abundance of seasonal berries. Of course, berries are often best enjoyed fresh, but their shelf life is unfortunately rather short. How often have you found yourself enthusiastically buying too many pints of strawberries or raspberries, only to find a good portion of them spoiled before eating them?
Luckily, here at Urban Farmer, we are dedicated to wasting as little as possible while taking advantage of summer’s full bounty! By preserving berries, we can avoid waste while simultaneously offering our guests the taste of summer for as long as possible.
When it comes to preserving summer’s seasonal berries, jams are often the first method to come to mind. And fortunately, they are relatively easy to make! Simply boil the berries down with some lemon juice and sugar until the mixture is thick. At home, jam will last several weeks refrigerated, or up to 3 months in your freezer! At Urban Farmer, we like to use jam with our house made English muffins for brunch, or alongside some artisanal cheese before dinner.
When most people think about pickles, they are thinking about cucumbers, carrots, and other vegetables. However, technically anything can be pickled, including summer berries! Blueberries are the most suitable for pickling, given their firm texture and sweetness. To pickle blueberries, all you need is vinegar, sugar, salt and, of course, blueberries! Use pickled blueberries in a salad to add a burst of sweet-tartness to the overall dish, or snack on them alongside a charcuterie board.
There’s no better way to spend time in the summer than to spend time with friends, and with a refreshing cocktail in hand. A drinking shrub is a vinegar-based syrup. It’s tangy yet refreshing and a great way to incorporate fruits and berries to cocktails or flavored sodas. Making shrub can be very simple at home. Simply add fruit to a clean jar, pour in heated vinegar, and cap. Let stand at least 24 hours and be sure to store it in a cool place, such as a refrigerator. Strain the fruit once your desired flavor is reached. Often the fruit is discarded, but we like to waste nothing, so we often save this fruit for chutneys.