Are you planning a fabulous holiday celebration this weekend? Maybe grilling out and planning some pie consumption? Look no further than the market for all the items you’ll need for your holiday celebration. After attending the parade, 5K, and fireworks (more information here), don’t miss the the market this Saturday and keep the long holiday weekend going. Last weekend the market was celebrating 35 years by giving away free totes at the city tent. Did you happen to get one? I missed the totes, but I did manage to get some really delicious peaches for pie. If you are looking for pie peaches, you can always ask the vendor if they have any “seconds.” These are slightly bruised or very ripe peaches that aren’t as nice for eating raw, but make wonderful pie. Plus seconds are little bit cheaper, so you save some cash in the process.
Along with the peaches, I also was able to get tomatoes last week. I have grand plans to make my own ketchup for my holiday weekend cookout. In case you are interested in making your own ketchup, the process is pretty easy and the results are so much better than the store bought kind, and you can avoid high fructose corn syrup and all the other chemical ingredients of the processed stuff.
You will need about four pounds of tomatoes to make a pint of your own ketchup, but it is totally worth it. To start, pick out some heirloom tomatoes at the market. Try to pick tomatoes that are close to optimal ripeness if you plan to make the ketchup right away. Ketchup also includes vinegar, brown sugar, some spices, onion and garlic. When you are ready to start, core and chop all the tomatoes. Add a little oil to a heavy bottom pot and add one chopped onion, 3 garlic cloves and all the tomatoes. You will need to cook this over medium heat for about 20 minutes until the tomatoes are really soft and squishy, and basically fall off the spoon. Be sure to keep stirring during this process so nothing burns. Once you have the right consistency of tomato slush, add 2 teaspoons salt, 1 ½ teaspoons pepper, ¼ cayenne pepper and any other spices you like for your ketchup. I have been known to split the batch at this point in half to make one batch of “regular” ketchup and one of curry ketchup. Once you have added all the spices, put the tomato mixture through the blender until smooth and you have a tomato sauce like consistency. Strain the blender mix through a fine sieve to get rid of seeds and such. Put the strained mix back in the pan with ½ cup dark brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of molasses. Cook over medium/low heat for about 30 minutes until the ketchup has thickened. Then allow the mixture to cool in the pan until it is safe to handle. Transfer to a clean and dry pint jar and cover tightly. Ketchup will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. If you wish you could always can the jars, which means they will last much longer. If you are interested in finding out more about canning, Parkland offers a class through the Community Education department. Canning can be dangerous if not done correctly though, so if you aren’t a canning expert, it’s fine to keep it in the fridge for two weeks. Enjoy!
This week there will be a lot of produce at the market to pick from, including tomatoes and peaches, so don’t forget to include the market in your holiday plans. Have a safe and happy 4th from everyone at Market Watch. C-U at the market!
Forms of payment: All vendors accept cash, and a few may take checks. There is an ATM in the Lincoln Square Mall just in case you buy so much you need a few more bucks. LINK card tokens are still available. See information about LINK here.
Parking: Parking is available in the parking lots surrounding Lincoln Square Mall and the lot south of Illinois Street for FREE! Bike parking is also available at the entrances to the mall and at the bike corral area past the entrance to the Market off of Illinois.
Information: The Market provides a lot of ways to get information. You can follow the Market on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for Market mail here. There is a map of the vendors here. If you want more information you can email Market Director Natalie Kenny Marquez, or call her at 217.384.2319. Check out flickr for some great photos from the Market each week. The market also has Instagram; you can follow the feed here.
Pets: The market doesn’t allow pets, so leave your furry friends at home. But there are plenty of places to pick up a special treat for your pet at the market so they don’t feel left out.
The market runs from 7 a.m. to noon every Saturday through November 1st. All events are scheduled rain or shine.
Photos from Facebook.