Yesterday we made our annual pilgrimage to Pierson’s Farm in Bradford, Vermont.
Strawberries are on my list to plant but so far it is just a dream. We have lots of the small wild alpine strawberries out in our fields but it takes a lot to fill a quart although they are very sweet. For serious strawberry picking we go each year to Pierson’s pick your own early in the morning (7 am) before the dew is off and the sun is hot.
This year they had a new variety, EarlyGlo, which we tasted but did not like. It was too tart. Instead we went for the Cavendish which is what we have picked in the past. They are sweeter and larger. The strawberry season has just started and by going mid-week we got excellent picking. In just 50′ of row the five of us picked about 29 lbs of berries in half an hour, plus some that went into our mouths – the stand owner always says to eat as many as you like. I doubt it is very many actually. With such plenty one becomes quickly saturated.
Once we got home the real work began. Holly jokes about the first time she went berry picking with me. We got done picking and she thought, “oh, that was nice. Now we’ll go home and rest.” Little did she realize what was in store for her. Once home we quick rinse all the berries, hull them and sort them into three groups: jam (under ripe or over ripe), eat now (perfect), freeze (the rest of the perfect ones). This takes a few hours. Then there is jam making. This year I made 20 pints of strawberry jam. That is enough to last us a year plus have some to give away for Christmas, etc.
For the next week or so we’ll eat lots of fresh strawberries. Then through the rest of the summer we’ll have frozen ones in frozen summer drinks (smoothies with yogurt or ice cream – yum!). The rest will carry us through the winter for sauces and deserts. As the summer progresses we’ll harvest waves of raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and wild strawberries. But this was the one time it was a big all at once push since we had to travel to pick. The rest of the berries are right out in the fields.
How to make Strawberry Jam
- 4 cups water
- 34 cups strawberries (one 7 quart canner full)
- 36 cups sugar (15 lbs)
- 1.75 cups lemon juice
- 2 packages fruit pectin or 2 cups of green apple peels
Simmer strawberries in water and gradually increase heat to boil. Stir periodically. Stir in sugar gradually. Stir in lemon juice. Sprinkle pectin and stir in or put peels in mix in a cloth bag. Bring to a boil and reduce to 75% of volume. Surface should skim in a metal spoon when ready.
Add hot to boiled pint jars or smaller, covering with wax or for longer shelf life use boiled canning lids and rings. Boiling water bath suffices at 15 minutes. Adjust time upward for higher altitudes – we’re at 1,800′ or so.
Makes 20 pints. 12 pints lasts our family of five about a year.
Piglets born to: Saddle, Little Pig, Australia last night.
75째F/70째F Rain, spots of Sunshine