Bon Vivant: Spring Fling

Springtime is high time for seasonal veggies and, my favorite, fruits. Thankfully, New Orleans is home to several farmers markets throughout the week, local and national grocery stores committed to carrying fresh, local food and services which bring the goods to your doorstep.

Since Hurricane Katrina, multiple programs, such as the Fresh Food Retailers Initiative, The ReFresh Project, Grow Dat Youth Farm, as well as Tulane University’s Prevention Research Center and its Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, have launched and banded together to bring fresh food to underserved areas and to educate residents about healthy nutrition. Point being, it’s easier than ever to eat fresh, healthy and local in the Big Easy. If you find it impossible to keep the list of what produce is in season straight, there’s an app for that. Consult the Seasonal Food Guide app when making your grocery list or if you like to cook when travelling.

Another challenge is consuming fresh goodies before they go bad. There are only two of us at my house, and while I frequently consume a shocking number of, for instance , berries in one sitting — even I have limits. Recently, I found myself in possession of a couple of pounds of strawberries. After eating them straight, in my oatmeal, blended into a smoothie and muddled into lemon juice and sugar for a homemade vodka cocktail, it was time to pull out the Mason jars. Canning is a bit of a process, so I whipped up quick jam. The beauty of quick jam is it doesn’t involve sanitizing the jars or dealing with pectin. This also means it will only last about two weeks. Long story long, enjoy my recipe for a delicious little batch of quick jam. It’s like spring in a jar.

(Editor’s note: A version of this article originally published on

Berry Jam

1 cup fresh berries
¼ cup raw sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine berries and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Mash and stir for about 2 minutes, or until mixture bubbles. Add sugar, stir and cook for about 1 minute. Add lemon juice, stir and boil for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Pour into a heat-safe jar, bowl or other container. Refrigerate for up to two weeks.


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