Thursday, June 21, 2012


On the first day of summer, what could be better than picking strawberries and preserving their sweet and tart flavor for the cooler days to come? Or, fresh strawberry shortcakes with home made whipped cream... Mmmmm...

Thoughts of future delights tantalizing my taste buds set my feet in gear to go strawberry picking with Kristen and Meaghan on our way home from Caitlin's house yesterday. We arrived in mid afternoon and only spent about 20 minutes at work, but that was enough to collect 13.5 pounds of fresh, juicy, ripe strawberries. We barely contained ourselves from eating them until they were paid for properly and we settled into the car for the ride home. Then, I am not going to lie, it was every woman for herself. The berries tasted sweet with just the right hint of tart and more delicious that I imagined.

Today, Meaghan and I worked together to get them all put up and preserved. Meaghan was in charge of filling a quart bag which we are trading a neighbor for some of her fresh rhubarb and a pint container for a gift for her Dad. While she was busy picking the best of the best for these purposes, I was busily cutting off the green tops and sorting the rest of the berries into either the bowl intended for jam or the tray slated for the freezer. (I like to freeze the berries on a tray before I slip them into a container. This way, they do not stick together into one frozen mass later.)

After the berries were all sorted and washed, I used my potato masher to squish the strawberries into a slightly thick consistency. I like lots of bits and pieces of fruit in my jam. I added 2 cups of sugar to 9 cups (before mashing) of strawberries and stirred it all together until the sugar had dissolved. The recipe called for 4 cups of sugar to 2 cups of strawberries, but that seemed way to sweet for me. The end product was still a little tart, just the way I like it! Then, I dissolved 2 packets of fruit pectin in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water until it, too, dissolved. I poured the pectin water over the strawberries, gave it a good mix, and filled my plastic jars. I do have mason jars, so I could have finished by dipping these into a hot water bath to seal them, but I wanted to freeze the jam, instead. It seemed easier to me today.

One and a half hours later, the final product is ready for fridge, freezer, or gifting. We ended up with 5 pint sized containers of strawberry jam, 1 pint sized container for strawberry shortcake for tonight, 2 quart containers for eating, 2 quart & 1 pint containers for freezing and 1 pint container and 1 quart bag to gift. Not too bad, if I do say so myself.

We want to go back to pick another box after vacation, if the fields are still open. With all the humid, hot temperatures and the coming rain in the forecast, it seems doubtful that we will have that chance this year. But, maybe.

Thanks for visiting!
Sonja ♥