Just as we start to relax the stay-​at-​home orders, lin­ger­ing DIY projects reward those look­ing to stay in their own lane.

Shop­pers lucky enough to have found flour, grains and yeast dur­ing total lock­down were a step ahead.

Indus­tri­ous kitchen bees, with time on their hands, stayed busy mak­ing breads, piz­zas and pas­tas. Pantry sta­ples inspired new ways of putting food on the table.

Self-​sufficiency doesn’t have to retreat. As we find our­selves return­ing to new nor­mal. Why not carve out some space to keep the home made food thing going?

Ambi­tious new­com­ers and expe­ri­enced cooks are ready to tackle home­made jams, jel­lies and pre­serves.

Tim­ing is per­fect with the glo­ri­ous stone fruits and berries com­ing in to sea­son. Cal­i­for­nia cher­ries and apri­cots lead the parade and rep­re­sent the exquis­ite short sea­son of these delec­table fruits.

Small batch recipes dis­miss any fear of not hav­ing the right can­ning sup­plies or know how. Fewer ingre­di­ents are required and nei­ther are gear or gad­gets to com­pli­cate matters.

Shelf life on small batches is shorter than using tra­di­tional can­ning meth­ods. Two weeks in the fridge is about right for these yum­mies. Spread on morn­ing toast, scones, waf­fles or oat­meal, it is pure bliss.

Pectin-​free, small batch jams or pre­serves will not be as thick as tra­di­tional ver­sions. The upside is that they don’t need to be. One jar will dis­ap­pear in short order.

Ster­il­iz­ing jars and fre­quent tem­per­a­ture checks can alien­ate wish­ful jam mak­ers. Skip these steps for quick refrig­er­a­tor meth­ods.

“Waste not, want not” rings true dur­ing the COVID-​19 altered liv­ing. Using up the unap­peal­ing fruit left in the bowl is one more way to reduce waste.

Small batches yield only one or two jars. The ratio of fruit-​to-​sugar depends on fruit tart­ness and also taste pref­er­ences. Be sure to taste test the straw­ber­ries, blue­ber­ries or Apri­ums before com­mit­ting to a jam ses­sion.

Delib­er­ate tart­ness is inher­ent in rhubarb, plums and some cher­ries and berries. Cit­rus is a nat­ural part­ner for those of us who pre­fer lemons and grape­fruit or any­thing with a zing.

This exper­i­ment with fruit and sugar can be aug­mented with almond extract, vanilla, gin­ger or liquors. Keep cit­rus peel or zests in the cue.

Once grounded in the post-​pandemic nor­malcy, the great take-​aways and lessons learned need to include rewards of doing more with less.

Fresh fruit jams and pre­serves made with few ingre­di­ents are a hit. Lit­tle time in the mak­ing, scoop the first batch over ice cream. No jar nec­es­sary. Dessert is served.

To read the full Mar­ket Report, includ­ing this week’s mar­ket update, see below or click here.