Strawberry picking is one of my favourite summertime activities. My children and I head out to a local u pick site and pick till our hearts are content getting all of our berries for the next year. It's a great fun and frugal family activitiy and helps your children learn more about where their food comes from.
Looking for a place to go picking in your area of the woods? Check out this link to find out where they are located.
This year, my mother in law and mother decided I was a tad too pregnant to go picking and so both of them decided to pick for me. My mother in law came by the other day with 30lbs of strawberries for me already picked. It was so appreciated. Later in the day my mother showed up and she, my oldest daughter and I hauled and packed the berries away for the winter.
My biggest complaint about berry picking use to be that the jam always had to be made in the hot summer when the berries were picked. I then found a recipe in an old Canadian Living Magazine on making jam from frozen fruit and from that point on, the jam making took place on a cool day when I was ready for it instead of when the berries dictated they had to be done.
After washing and hauling the berries, I freeze 8 cups of berries in each resealable bag so they are ready to go for the winter. The 30lbs that I have currently will make 21 large jars of jam. In our home that lasts about 21 weeks. I figured out with the sugar, pectin and berries, each jar costs me about $1 to make (depending on the cost of sugar at the time) instead of the $5 it costs per jar for a smaller amount of jam with more sugar in it.
Want to try it out? Here's the recipe:
8 cups whole unsweetened frozen strawberrries
1 box of light pectin crystals (warning: DO NOT SUBSTITUTE THIS FOR ANY OTHER KIND!! trust me!)
4 1/2 cups of sugar
Thaw berries until just a few ice crystals remain. Drain, reserving juice; crush fruit. Combine fruit and juice to make 6 cups. Pour into heavy saucepan. Mix pectin with 1/4 cup of the sugar and stir into fruit. Bring to full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add remaining sugar (4 1/4 cups). Return to full rolling boil, stirring. Boil hard for 1 minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir and skim off any foam for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil lids for 5 minutes. Fill sterilized jars (8- 1 cup jars or 4- 2 cup jars), leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims if necessary. Seal with prepared lids, screw on bands fingertip tight. Process in boiling water bath canner for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool on rack for 24 hours, inverting jars several times to distribute fruit. Check seal, wipe jars and store in cool dark dry place.
I have also used raspberries for this recipe and they turned out great! Let me know if you try it and what you think of it.
Enjoy your day!