I have been going to Forsythe Family Farms for a very long time. We will feature them in the future but if you find yourself in the Markham or Unionville area in the meantime, make sure to get up and visit this destination. They have activities for the kids and an abundant farm store which sells local products (often, but not always, from their own farm). They carry fantastic baked goods, honey, veggies, preserves, meat, poultry, cheese and much more.
As we were spending the weekend in Markham, I picked up a day-old raspberry pie and noticed that the farm peas were in. They were available in the pod or, for cheaters, in pre-shucked bags. I bought a shucked bag as a gift for our hosts (my lovely parents) and carried on with my Friday-evening trek to suburbia.
On our way home today (Sunday), we headed back to the Forsythe Farm. 4-cheater bags were still available – I would guess that they were about a pound each for $5. $20 later and we were off with our farm fresh shortcuts and headed back to the city.
I have never preserved peas before. I knew we would have a trusted recipe and, once again, the Joy of Cooking paid off. It seems there is little to it (though use a tested recipe) – boiling salt water on top of fresh peas is then brought back to a boil for two minutes before added to hot jars and the sealing process is followed. You definitely need a pressure cooked for veggies like this – there is little-to-zero acid in the jars and 240-degree heat is needed to safely preserve these for many months to come. The recipe I followed recommended 40 minutes at pressure.
We made 11 1-cup jars (1.75 liters) – raw food cost is just under $2 a jar. They are not as cheap as growing your own (we will one day have our own little garden) and they are more expensive than buying the industrial product. Our ingredient list (peas, water, salt) is something I am proud of and know we will taste the difference when the winter comes.
This was preserve batch #7 of the year – I think we have just about recovered from our slow start to the season.