May 17, 2011

Strawberry Time

I love the South. So much green! I also love strawberry fields. They smell so good!

We learned the hard way that the end of the day isn't the best time to pick. Normally we go early-mid morning. The fields had already been mostly picked over. There were still a lot of great berries. It just took a lot longer to fill our baskets.

Strawberries have to be processed right away. Especially if you picked them under the hot southern sun. They retain heat and cook eachother in the basket. If you let them sit, you'll find a whole lot of mushy berries at the bottom.

So right away, as soon as we got home, I started hulling my berries and sorting them. The prettiest berries are going on the cookie sheet. I'll flash freeze them and then fill freezer bags. The not so pretty berries are going in the bowl to be made into jam.

Normally I just make easy freezer jam. This year I wanted to learn how to can preserves. I needed a few supplies. I picked up a canning pot and a utensil kit for around $27. These will come in handy when I tackle pickles and tomatoes this summer.

Confession: This is the first time I've canned preserves. My jam did not set and I had to recook them using these instructions: How to Fix (or Remake) Jam or Jelly. The process worked like a charm and my jam is nice and thick, albeit with less whole berries and a tad more sugar. Ah the joys of the learning process.


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