Strawberries – From Field to Jam

 

Strawberries are the official fruit of June, until the Raspberries are in peak season later this month.

I took the opportunity during a rare midweek break to pick strawberries at Linvilla Orchard.  Since it was midweek, I had the field mostly to myself and it seemed to stretch on forever. No pun intended. Getting to the field was a special treat. The price of admission includes a hayride to the strawberry field. No seatbelt and apparently no shocks made for a bouncy, hay-filled ride to the field.  Just beyond the field is a crop of rhubarb ready for picking.  I had one fruit on my mind and went about filling my containers with sweet and succulent Strawberries.

Strawberries Fields Forever
Seriously, take a look at the strawberries. They are at peak ripeness and visions of strawberry jam floated through my head as I collected them.  This is  a fruit I would love to grow in my postage stamp sized garden, however, the strawberry plant tends to spread vigorously and would take over my garden in no time.  I had a similar experience two years ago with a pie pumpkin plant that required careful threading of the vines around my raised bed vegetable plots as it grew throughout the summer. If I didn’t do this, it would have overgrown my plots making me an unhappy camper.

Fresh picked strawberries

After rinsing them off, the Strawberries looked divine as I set about making Vanilla Strawberry Jam. I followed the recipe posted at Food In Jars.  While there you should check out her cook book Food in Jars. A useful book for learning the art and science of canning. I had the opportunity to meet the author at Williams Sonoma last  year and reference her book for all my canning projects.

10371482_10202365571637664_4075387979693535511_n

Setting up the strawberries for maceration over night. Mom kept checking on my progress and recalled her mother had canned jars and jars of strawberries. I asked if she liked the finished product, she stated the canned food is what got the family through lean times. This is not the first time she shared the difficulties her family faced when she was young. I often wondered if that was the reason she never took up canning fruits with her family. Then her youngest decides canning is a great way to extend the tastes of summer all year round.  Now I have an added bonus for canning –  the opportunity to replace mom’s sad memories with new, happier ones.

10351259_10202365571717666_7938156723347335409_n
The finished product. The taste of this jam is unlike any store-bought strawberry jam. In fact, just stop buying store brands and make your own. I promise you will love it.

Homemade Strawberry Jam

signature

16,756 total views, 1 views today

  • PapaMAS

    The chief draws to a store brand anything are convenience and cost (not just in money but time and effort as well). For this, we get mostly passable products. Some of them are quite good but it is always eye opening when you get something really fresh. For example, in my house we do not buy canned cranberry sauce for this reason – the canned stuff pales in comparison to what you can make.

    Gotta figure out what to do with all my blackberries as the kids won’t eat cobbler. Not sure what is wrong with them. Oh, well, I gotta go pick some tomatoes and peas from the garden.

    • Tania

      Ditto on canned cranberry sauce! It is banned from chez Tania.

  • Trevor Hilton

    My Mom used to make home-made jelly. We had blackberries growing wild on our farm. We used to gather them and either eat them fresh, make pies, or jelly from them

    • Tania

      Nothing wild growing in the city. Babci, along with Mom would head off to the Reading Terminal for fresh fruits to can. I believe I’m the first to ever pick them from a commercial farm. I won’t grow strawberries at home because they grow like rabid weeds and I’d spend way too much time culling the plants.