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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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