Downtown Home and Garden Jam and Pickle Contests

If yours is among the 1 in 4 American households that preserves and "puts by" some of its food these days, you might be excited to know you could be rewarded for your domestic industry.  Downtown Home and Garden is hosting its 11th Annual Jam Contest and Tasting on Saturday October 3rd.  And new this year, DTH follows the lead of the New York Food Museum's International Pickle Day (9th Annual this year on October 4th) and hosts the Downtown Home and Garden 1st Annual Pickle Contest and Tasting on Saturday, October 10th.  Fabulous prizes are awarded to First, Second, and Third place winners for both the jam and pickle contests. 

Drop off your jam entry before the store closes on Friday, October 2nd. Then, be sure to stop by the Jam Contest and Tasting on the 3rd (it's open to the public).  You can expect over 60 varieties of homemade jams to be arrayed on the shelves at the front of the store. Strawberry and raspberry are popular of course, but you'll also find kinds you may never have heard of. Like chocolate jams and pepper jellies and cloudberry preserves. All  spread on little toasted squares of Zingerman's great Farm Bread.  Each jam is labeled with a number and winners are chosen by popular demand - voted on by the tasting public. 

While today perhaps 25-30% of American households do some home preservation of their food, that number was once much higher.  According to Elizabeth Andress of the University of Georgia, "Seven out of ten households (over 24 million) preserved fruits and vegetables in 1944. Most of the preservation was done by canning — about ten percent did some drying and about 6 percent used freezing. Seventy percent used the open-kettle method of canning for fruit; about 45 percent used this method for vegetables. The majority of households canned 100 to 200 quarts of food; many canned 200 to 500 quarts (Bureau of Ag. Econ., 1945)."

Wow - 500 quarts of food?  I think I'm pretty special when I've done 10 quarts.  At least this year I've increased my homemade sauerkraut production by 50% - I've got 15 pounds fermenting now instead of the 10 I did last year. Again, all thanks to Vivienne.  Is sauerkraut considered a pickle? I may need to enter it in the contest.  

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