putting up the seasons

The abundance of the summer months make it truly a season of freshness and flavor. Our diets are filled with colorful fruits that we grow in our gardens or buy from the market and little cooking needs to be done to enhance the flavors. In fact, fresh is often best! 

Working as a farmer through the summer months lends itself many fresh fruits throughout the growing season. From the early spring greens and the first spring strawberries, summer tomatoes, mulberries and peaches, to fall apples, melons and more. I find myself eating the fruits of the season till I can not eat them any more. Take mulberries, for example. There is such a great abundance of mulberry trees in my neighborhood, and besides myself and the birds, most go un-eaten. I enjoy eating as many as I can find, be it on a walk home or on a trip to the park with my basket and picking fingers ready. By the time the season is over, I am ready for a new fruit, and just my luck, the serviceberries are ripening!

Wintertime is a different season of abundance. While the trees are not laden with fruit and the garden has been put to rest, the well-planned foodie has put up an array of summer harvests for the cold days of winter. I find myself enjoying warm toast with jam or pancakes with preserves more in the wintertime than any other season. When opening a jar of preserves, there is a sense of warmth, like the sun that ripened the fruits is shining out from the jar and warming the room! 

One of my favorite preserve recipes that we make at Snowshoe Candy Co. is our Cantaloupe Vanilla Bean Preserves. A sweet blend of fresh melon with the smooth and floral flavor of whole vanilla beans carries the sunshine of summer well. It is perfect for atop a stack of pancakes or with goat cheese and crackers. 

All of our canned goods are only available locally and made in small batches, when the fruits are in season. We source our ingredients locally, either foraged or grown by local farmers. The cantaloupe used for our Cantaloupe Vanilla Bean Preserves was grown organically by Farmer Scott at the Omaha Home for Boys Cooper Farm and was harvested at peak ripeness, just days before being turned into preserves! 

And the vanilla beans? Vanilla beans are a staple ingredient for many of our products. We proudly source them from Cure Cooking, a local food business owned by our friends Chad and Cynthia. Chad is often busy curing meats, naturally fermenting pickles and practicing a wide array of other traditional food methods. Cynthia, who works for the Omaha Public Zoo, travels to Madagascar twice a year and returns with fresh harvested vanilla beans (and peppercorns, and cinnamon, and so many other unique spices and herbs!). 

So when the sunshine is tucked behind the evergreen trees and the snow is glistening on the branches, warm up your meal with a spread of fresh summer preserves!