Friday, May 6, 2011

Having a Berry good time!

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."...Marcel Proust

There's nothing like the sweetness of fresh picked strawberries! No multi-person handeling, packing and long truck ride to the grocery store; just picked off the plant right to your kitchen!

I wish I had more land to be able to have a few rows of strawberries myself, but they are only around for about 4 weeks time so in the long run of prepping the garden I'll stick with my 2 pots of plants and leave the big stuff to the professionals nearby!

That said, I took the boys to a local farm to go Strawberry picking today and had to share our visit! I mentioned it once earlier in the week and this is all they've been looking forward to! It was so cute, as soon as we got out of the truck and got our boxes, Gavin runs up to the field saying, 'Strawberries, here we come!'

They did awesome too! After reminding them to only pick the all red ones they could have been hired on the spot! Their little fingers griped the stems perfectly and they were so gentle when pulling that only a few were a little bruised (those were eaten on the spot of course)!

Also taught some great teamwork skills in the process!

Now, I have the great pleasure of washing and preping tons of berries as we picked the most ripe ones. I'll save about a dozen to be included in a chocolate-covered Mother's Day bouquet for the Grandmom's this weekend and another couple dozen to eat. The rest I'll try my hand in making some Strawberry Jam. It seems easy enough to make, guess we'll see how it goes! Here's a basic recipe:

5 cups crushed berries (2 qt.)
7 cups (3 lb.) sugar
1 box powdered fruit pectin

Stir powdered pectin into the berries. Bring berries and pectin to a boil and add sugar all at once. Again, bring the mixture to boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and fill jars.


2 cups crushed berries (1 quart)
4 cups (1 3/4 lb.) sugar
3/4 cup water
1 box powdered fruit pectin

Add sugar to fruit and stir well. In a sauce pan, boil 3/4 cup water and the fruit pectin for one minute, stirring constantly. Add the hot pectin and water to the fruit and continue stirring 3 minutes. Put in containers, let stand 24 hours and store in freezer.

*A great tip I got a few yrs back when making the kiddos fresh baby food:
If there is not time to make your jam the same day as you picked, here's a great idea! Wash, stem and slice the berries then blend them. They won't take up as much space in your freezer, and 2 cups of the blended berries makes one jam recipe any time you want "fresh" jam.

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