I've been dreaming about jam. See, we are entering peak summer fruit season: cherries, blueberries, peaches, blackberries, plums, raspberries, and more. Stone fruits and berries such as these make fantastic jam and jam is incredibly useful in all kinds of sweet and savory ways from barbecue sauce to ice cream.
Now if you'd rather pass on all that canning nonsense, I have something for you: refrigerator jam. You put fruit and sugar in a pan, cook it until it gets thick and bubbly, and portion it into containers that you must store in the fridge instead of the pantry. This recipe for strawberry refrigerator jam illustrates the concept well.
Still, I sometimes enjoy having to fuss with jars to make jam the old-fashioned way. A shelf-stable jar of homemade jam, made with homegrown fruit, is a gift from my garden that I can share with faraway family and friends.
Blackcurrants, picked from the bushes in front of my house. Soon, these will be jam. And then, they might have to go on top of cheesecake.
Here are 10 DC-area farms where you can get in on the pick-your-own fruit action, listed by proximity. Check their website or call ahead before visiting a farm to make sure that your favorite fruits are ripe and ready.
Berry Daze (blueberries) - Lothian, MD
Homestead Farm (tart cherries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches) - Poolesville, MD
FarmAtHome (blueberries) - Poolesville, MD
Swann Farms (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) - Owings, MD
Butler's Orchard (tart cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) - Germantown, MD
Rock Hill Orchard (tart cherries, peaches, blackberries) - Mount Airy, MD
Larriland Farm (sweet and tart cherries, blueberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries, peaches) - Woodbine, MD
Crooked Run Orchard (tart cherries, gooseberries, blackberries, peaches, plums) - Purcellville, VA
Great Country Farm, (blueberries, blackberries, peaches, plums) - Bluemont, VA,
Messick's Farm Market (blackberries, maybe strawberries if you hurry!) - Bealton, VA