Thursday, November 19, 2009

Teresa's Aronia Jam/Jelly Production

Teresa is bringing her wonderfully delicious, nutritious, and some say even magical Aronia Jam and Jelly up to the indoor market at Immanuel Lutheran at 616 Lake St. in Evanston, Sat., Nov. 21, 9 - 1 p.m. She will offer specials on whole cases (12 jars) so you can knock off lots of gift-giving obligations in one fell swoop, and still have some leftover for yourself.

The aronia berries in these jars started off as clusters of beautiful white flowers in Teresa's 2-acre field of organic aronia bushes this past spring. They ripened all summer, and we picked them during one hot week in late August.

Then Teresa froze about half of them and took them up to an organic processor in Honor Michigan, Food for Thought. Here's what happened next . . .

They got warmed up and dumped in a copper cauldron. Then someone turned the chopper blade 10 times to chop the fruit into small pieces.

Here's Timothy, the CEO and chef at Food for Thought, who's just finished chopping up a batch of aronia berries. The chopped fruit is then dumped into a large heated cauldron and mixed with organic sugar, lemon juice, and pectin. Here Trish, the floor supervisor, is getting ready to dump whole berries into the grinder.

The huge pot of boiling hot jam mixture is poured into a machine that squirts it into the sterilized bottles, which are then capped and cooled.

This year, Teresa made 1200 jars of jam from about 360 pounds of berries. She made another 200 jars of jelly from 9 gallons of fresh-pressed aronia juice.

Come up to Evanston and get enough to last you all winter!

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