In the Barter Economy

I make jam, jelly, and other canned treats.  Many of them include home grown or wild foods, and almost all are made with local produce.  My kitchen hasn’t been inspected by the health department, so I can’t sell them.  But I can trade them, which is good, because my inventory is out of control.  Want to barter for some treats?  I would take crafts, baked goods, booze, services, or whatever you’ve got.

These canned goods keep almost indefinitely on the shelf, but should be refrigerated after opening.  The only thing I ask is that you give back the canning jar and lid ring when you’ve eaten the contents.  In the rare case that you get a jar that didn’t seal correctly and the contents have gone bad, I’m happy to replace it.   (More about home canning and food safety from the USDA)

Hot Pepper Jelly: Made with a mix of hot peppers from our garden, this jelly is spicy and sweet.  Serve on a Triscuit with a schmear of cream cheese, or add a little zest by serving on roast turkey breast.  My 2011 batch won a harvest festival award (only second place, but I’m still proud), and my 2012 batch is at least as good.  (Ingredients: hot pepper puree, cider vinegar, sugar, fruit pectin)

Apple Butter: Despite the name, this sweet spread contains no dairy.  When I was a kid, the old-timers would make apple butter in a washtub over an open fire in the yard, slowly simmering apples for days on end.  I replace the open fire with a crock pot, but I try to keep the recipe traditional.  My apple butter is 100% local apples from Shelburne Farms in Stow, simmered for 18-48 hours (depending on batch), then strained through a foodmill.  Serve on toast or a bagel for breakfast.  (Ingredients: apples)

Grape Jelly: In July and August, we gather wild grapes trailside in the Neponset River valley in Boston, Milton, and Canton.  We get both red grapes and purple Concord grapes, so no two batches are exactly the same.  (Ingredients: grape juice, sugar, fruit pectin)

Roasted Red Pepper Spread: This was a new venture for us this year, when we needed a way to use up some garden peppers.  It is good in bruschetta, or as a topping for risotto or casserole.  (Ingredients: homegrown red bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, onion, red wine vinegar, basil, sugar, salt)

Peach Jam: This is pure bottled sunshine.  Nothing tastes like summer quite as much as peach jam.  Our 2012 peaches are from Harmony Farms in North Scituate, RI.  If you get a 2011 batch, those peaches are from our neighbor’s tree here in Readville, MA.  (Ingredients: peaches, sugar, fruit pectin, lemon juice for freshness)

Apple Chutney: Our chutney is peerless on pork chops, can liven up turkey breast, and vegetarians could even eat it on a cracker.  It’s made from garden peppers and apples from Shelburne Farms in Stow, MA.  (Ingredients: apples, red peppers, raisins, lemons, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, cider vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt)

Applesauce: An old family favorite, I don’t use any sugar or cinnamon in my applesauce.  The apples from Shelburne Farms are peeled, cored, simmered, and mushed with a potato masher.  (Ingredients: apples)

Blackberry Jam: Despite the thorns, blackberries are a terrific wild food.  In 2011, I made traditional blackberry jam with fruit gathered along the trail in Fowl Meadows in the Neponset River valley.  In 2012, I discovered a rich patch of blackberries somewhere in the Stony Brook Reservation in Boston (I’m not giving up the exact location), and picked enough to make a batch of seedless blackberry jam.  It should be a real treat for anyone sick of pulling seeds out from between their teeth! (Ingredients: blackberries, sugar, fruit pectin)

Blueberry Jam: This is a traditional blueberry jam, made with berries we picked at Harmony Farms in Rhode Island. (Ingredients: blueberries, sugar, fruit pectin)

The following items are only for the brave.

Brandied Apples: This year, I attempted to make apple wedges suspended in a brandy/sugar syrup.  However, I overcooked them, and it came out sort of like over-sweet applesauce with a hint of brandy and some strips of apple peel.  You might want to eat it, and it should make a tasty topping for ice cream.  Lowball offers accepted.  (Ingredients: apples, water, sugar, brandy)

Dilled Carrots: I have several jars of dilled carrots left over from the first time I made them.  Why are they left over?  Because I accidentally swapped the sugar and salt in the recipe, and they came out terrible.  If you can think of a use for overly salted, pickled, homegrown carrots, let me know.  (Ingredients: carrots, vinegar, water, salt, garlic, dill, hot peppers, sugar)

Pickled Green Tomatoes: I dare you.  The first year I grew tomatoes, I ended up having to harvest some of them green.  It was hard to find ways to put up green tomatoes, so I pickled them with garlic and hot peppers.  They are a slimy mess.  (Ingredients: I forget)

One thought on “In the Barter Economy

Comments are closed.