Last week when Jack and I were in Portland, we made a quick stop or two at various farmer's markets throughout the city. Portland has at least one everyday, but the largest one is on Saturday, which we happened to miss. With the different climate than New England, I was hoping to score some Northwest Cherries to make boozy cherries, alas, I had to settle for my favorite Red Raspberries instead as cherry season was over. I purchased the raspberries (and strawberries) on our last day there, and then had to transport them cross country, on a red eye, and on public transportation until I arrived home. Needless to say, the berries were no longer in berry form. While disappointed, I had a back up plan.
Let me back up a second and tell you about this glorious bookstore in Portland- Powell's books. The store is literally a city block long and wide, and about four floors tall. I made it about two steps in the door and had a minor anxiety attack while grabbing at least four books within 10 minutes flat. Jack literally had to drag me out of the store with enticements of a good brew and some Portland style Reuben sandwiches. I did manage to purchase a new canning recipe book that went well beyond canning, and contained recipes that were more modern in design. While reading on the plane, I luckily happened to stumble upon a recipe for Berry Leather- you know, like grown up, healthy fruit roll-ups. The recipe contained three ingredients, including mashed berries (thank goodness!). It was very simple, and the results were terrific. The leather was exactly like the fruit leather you can purchase at Trader Joe's or at Target in the Archer Farms brand. It also lasts a long time. The book, called "Put 'em Up!"is written by Sherry Brooks Vinton, and as mentioned before, contains updated recipes that are easy to make, and more like foods that our current culture eats on a regular basis. I encourage any home canners to purchase the book as an addition to the Ball canning book, or your cook book of choice.
Portland certainly offered so much for Jack and I as well. It is a terrific city with loads of foodie activities, as well as biking, hiking, and walking. I suggest you all add it to your West Coast iteneriaries.
Berry Leather, adapted from Put 'em Up!
1 cup of berries
1 tsp of lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in sauce pan. Bring to boil. Take off stove and spread into a prepared 9x9 pan (use parchment paper for easy cleanup). Bake in preheated oven at 175F for 2 hours. Please note that it actually took me a little longer than 2 hours, and I left it uncovered out of the oven for at least 24 hours.