Friday, June 26, 2009

Strawberry Fields Forever

Have you ever gone Strawberry Pickin'?

If not, I highly suggest you go sometime. Yes, it's a lot of squatting and bending but overall, so good for the soul...and for the pocketbook at only $1.25 per pound! (though, be prepared, my knees REALLY were hurting the next day)

So, what does one do with nine pounds of fresh, red, ripe, juicy strawberries?

Duh! You eat them right out of the carton! This unknown particular variety of strawberry almost tasted like a raspberry! Extremely high on the yumminess scale.

While picking, I had all intentions of wanting to make home made jam...preserves...definitely not just jelly. Sounds out of the question to you? It's not; it's much simpler than you think. Give it whirl. You won't believe what a difference home made makes (if you would rather try a no-fail, fresh berry pie, go here.)

Step 1: Trim & Clean about 2 quarts of strawberries.

Step 2: From the said 2 quarts of berries, squish them into 5 cups of berry parts and juice. Your red packets of goodness should be ripe enough to just squish with your hands...or if you have any littles around, they would love to do this part. Place the 5 cups of berry mixture into a dutch kettle type pot, along with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 packet of Jellese pectin. Heat until boiling.

**Warning: Be sure to wear old clothes or an apron, squishing ripe berries will create a bloodbath scene across anything within 2 feet from you. Take heed.**

Step 3: Slowly stir 7 cups of sugar into the boiling mixture. Return to a boil that you cannot "stir down", meaning the boil continues even while you are stirring. Leave the mixture alone and boil for 2 minutes - set a timer!

Step 4: Take the mixture off of the heat. You will notice a layer of foam that looks like melted chapstick. Scrape that off with a spoon as best as you can. It won't hurt you, but it can ruin the look of your jam.

Step 5: Spoon mixture into hot, sterilized jars. Lightly tighten warm seals & rings on each one.

Step 6: Invert each jar for 5 - 10 minutes, then flip back over. Why, you ask? It does seem silly. But, this allows the fruit to disperse throughout the entire jar instead of only laying towards the top.

Step 7: Let your jars "rest" until the lids "pop" inward. Then, they are ready to store. If you have any jars that don't "pop", just stick them in the fridge and use first. One batch made 4 pints or 8 half pints.

Now, easy is that?? You can enjoy the fruit of your labor for months to come. It is especially comforting knowing that YOU picked the fruit, YOU only added four ingredients and YOU did it all.

Full circle; start to finish.

If you went hog wild on the picking part, enjoy some of the fresh berries and freeze the rest! Be sure to freeze the berries separately on a baking sheet or something of the sort, then put them together in a bag, ensuring them to not turn into one big, frozen berry ball.

If the feeling strikes you, you can thaw them out another time and do the whole thing over again!


See More Frugal Fridays!


Tanya said...

Simply fantastic!

~michelle pendergrass said...

I intended to make strawberry preserves last night, but my canning supplies were missing. Uh oh. :( I think I know where they are though.

So instead, I made strawberry freezer preserves! The jars are freezer safe and Ball sells plastic caps made just for that! I made 22 pints last night. :)

~michelle pendergrass said...

Excuse me, I mean 22 half-pints. LOL

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

Yum! I made some a few weeks ago and it was fabulous!


Kristin said...

You said it all- I'm a new homemade jam convert myself, love it! But we didn't get enough this week, so I guess we'll havt to back!!

Hoosier Homemade said...

I still haven't made it to pick yet! Hopefully this week, or they will be gone.
Thanks for stopping by!

Veronica Lee said...

Hi, I'm visiting from MBC. Great blog.

designHER Momma said...

I was just thinking that I would love to go strawberry picking over the long weekend....

now I really want to...

Mrs. Cline said...

Wow, being friends with you could surely do things to my cooking abilities, but I would really rather eat.

All those cherries I picked from my back yard? Ate every last one of them!

Corrin said...

Oh yum! I only remember going strawberry picking once, and my mom made the mistake of wearing white shorts.