Concord Grape Jelly

Start with fresh Concord Grapes from Ontario and a weekend plan to stay at home. Wash the grapes, mash the grapes, boil the pulp, drain the pulp overnight, boil the juice with sugar, seal in hot jars. Presto … concord grapes put up for the winter.

Rally before the Rain

The People’s Social Forum kick-started a four day event here in Ottawa with a march to Parliament Hill.

Dubbed the Woodstock of left-wing politics, the forum focuses on 17 themes:

  1. Climate;
  2. Communication;
  3. Community;
  4. Control;
  5. Earth;
  6. Economy;
  7. Food;
  8. Gender;
  9. Governance & Democracy;
  10. Impoverishment;
  11. International;
  12. Knowledge;
  13. Migration;
  14. Movements;
  15. Public services;
  16. Spirit; and
  17. Work.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) was there and dutifully reported on the rally, focusing on 2 more themes of (typically mundane) Canadian interest … the frustrating commute (“people were waiting 10-15 minutes at points”) and the weather (“well Adrian, that rain has chased them all away”).

My ideal strawberry experience

The Strawberry entry on Wikipedia claims that “strawberry flavor and fragrance are among the most popular hedonic characteristics for consumers”. Certainly nothing says summer quite like strawberries.

 

The Wikipedia article notes that the “ideal strawberry experience” has to do with attributes such as sweetness, fragrance and complex flavor. My ideal strawberry experience is predicated on the local attribute. This week, I ventured 10 kms down the highway to the Bélair farm for a flat of ripe, red berries.

 

I enjoyed them in a salad with cucumbers also bought at the Bélair farm, on mesclun purchased from McClelland farm – less than 10 kms from home if I were a crow – and topped by fennel sprouts from my own garden. Yummmm.

 

I enjoyed them sliced on baguette with Gorgonzola and the last of a strawberry-white wine preserve from 2012. The cheese is too strong for my partner, so I was grateful that our friend Jonathan dropped by to share the sensation.

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To extend my enjoyment, I have been making small batches of preserves every night this week: Strawberry, Balsamic and Black Pepper spread; Strawberry and Mint jam; Strawberry Honey. As I listen to the satisfying ‘pop’ and ‘thuk’ sounds of the lids sealing tight, I ensure an “ideal strawberry experience” on even the coldest winter nights.

 

The beauty of the berry, preserved by sugar and heat, is captured by the camera in the rays of the morning sun.