Monday, June 21, 2010

Strawberry Time!

On Friday, we did this:
And on Saturday, we did this:
And this:
So, can you guess what we'll be doing today? :)


Mary Ann said...

Oh yum, yum, yum! I so wanna go strawberry picking! It seems like the season flies by so fast. My sister & her kids went cherry picking last week. They were so sweet to share their haul. Yum, yum, yum! Have fun with your berries!

Arlene @At Home with the Grimms said...

Looks like it will be yummy! So much fun for the little ones to be in on the picking and eating.

Alicia said...

You are SO WISE to do the strawberry jam making in parts! I'm attempting the whole process today. For the first time ever. YIKES! On batch #2 right now and everything seems to be going smoothly. I think next year I'll do a freezer jam recipe and make the process easier. What recipe do you use?

Carrie said...

Alicia, it's definitely a lot easier to break it up into several days! It's also extremely helpful to have my hubby or someone else here to watch the kids when I'm doing the actual canning. I don't want the kids anywhere near the kitchen with all that hot stuff on the stove/counters, etc.!! I usually make cooked jam and I basically follw the instructions here:
(They're basically the same as what comes in the pectin box, only I usually do like the lady suggests and add in some extra pectin to each batch.) This year I tried using the no-sugar pectin for the first time (but I still used sugar--about 4 c. per batch) and we were very happy with how it came out. We actually liked the taste better than the regular full-sugar version. I have made freezer jam before, and we like it, but it's hard for me to find enough room in my freezers to store that much jam. I like to make a LOT (this year I made 72 half-pints) so it's a lot easier to store in a cabinet, for me.

I saw on FB what a great price you got on the berries. Awesome! Around here the prices weren't too good this year. The place we went to quoted me $3.25/quart on the phone. We picked around 24 lbs. and when we went to pay we found out it was actually $3.25/lb. :( Um, OK--so it was around $30 more than we expected to spend, plus they charged us for the boxes!! (I've never had that happen before--this was a new-to-us farm.) Oh well, even with all the costs of sugar, pectin, lids, etc. added in, our jam still was fairly inexpensive (partly 'cause I stretched some of it with rhubarb).

Sorry for the long comment! :) Good luck with your jam-making, and enjoy the results!!

Alicia said...

Carrie: Thanks for your detailed response! I agree, Matt watched the kids during the first batch of ladling and Chloe fed Solomon for me during the second batch. That's just something I can NOT do one-handed! Ditto on the pickyourown website recipe. I LOVED the pictures and details for each step. I needed that since this was my first time canning. Do you have a water bath canner? I used a big old pot and put some forks on the bottom to keep the cans from sitting on the bottom. I really wish I would have had a jar lifter/tongs though. That was hard to improvise!

We DID get a good price on berries. Not sure if that was their end of the season price or the regular price. Turned out to be about $1.15 a pound. Since this is our first year it seems to be an expensive venture but that's because we had to buy all the jars new. Hopefully I can pick up more at yard sales. I'd love to can peaches and tomato sauce this year too. The canning bug has bit! :)

p.s. I LOVE rhubarb strawberry jam! Wish I had some rhubarb. Do you grow it in your yard?

Carrie said...

Yes, I have a water bath canner. I got mine at Walmart; they're around $20. I also have the jar tongs and lid lifter thingy that I got in a canning utensils set (also at Walmart). The first year, I improvised like you did with a big pot and something on the bottom to hold the jars up, and some plain metal tongs for lifting the jars out. I HIGHLY recommend the jar tongs though--they're totally worth it. I feel a lot safer using them. :)

Yeah, the first year it's more expensive with buying all the jars and stuff, but it gets cheaper every year after that. :) Also, look for clearance sales on canning products at the end of the summer/early fall. Last year when I canned applesauce with a friend, we found a ton of jars on clearance at the grocery store for 50-75% off. They also had lids, pectin, and other canning supplies on clearance. So keep your eyes open! Yard sales are a good place to look for jars too, or thrift stores. Canning is kind of addictive, isn't it? :) I have never done tomato sauce or anything else besides jam or applesauce, but someday I hope to do a lot more (when we hopefully grow more of our own veggies!).