Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The weekend of Berries

This Saturday I rose uncomfortably early and headed to the pick your own located about 30 minutes from my house sans children. While I do normally take a child or three with me on these excursions I decided against it this time since it had been such a tough go of it last time with just the one child.

In June when I picked berries at this same local they were small and tough to find. I was anticipating much of the same but I was determined. My goal was to put up tremendous quantities of strawberry jam. I wanted to make some as gifts for people this year for Christmas and also for my own family.

From my first June batch of jam I had given away 2 half pints of the sweet stuff and it had been well received. In fact I had even received one of my jars back empty it was so well received.

I got to the fields and much to my surprise was met with these kinds of berries:

I was delighted. These were large and easy to reach and they were everywhere!

The woman who drove the tractor out to the fields with us pickers on board informed us that these were "pre-berries" and that the actual crop would come in later this month. I can't even imagine how many strawberries they will have then.

Within 30 minutes I had this:

I took them back to the farmhouse, picked up another flat and 2 smaller boxes and went back out. Within another 45 minutes I had filled the entire flat plus and was done. I was also pretty badly sunburned because my skin is the color of fishbelly and since I hadn't brought children I had also not brought the bag with sunscreen in it. Lesson learned there.

Beginning Saturday night and also Sunday we cleaned and processed the entire first flat plus 2 smaller boxes and made them into Strawberry-Vanilla Bean Jam. I made small 4oz jars and also larger 8 oz jars for gifts and for consumption. Initial home taste testing indicates they are amazing.

I'm unsure if I'll freeze the remaining strawberries or just go ahead and process those as well.

Whatever I do I need to do it soon. The pick your own informed me that raspberries will be ready by August 17th and peaches by the end of the month.

I love canning!


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