Strawberry Picking and MORE Vegetables

I was giddy today. I ran to Broom’s Bloom Dairy and Brad’s Produce to pick up sausage, butter and vegetables for tonight’s dinner. What did I find? Tomatoes! From Brad’s! Wahoo! And they had broccoli, too. It was a jack pot. I also bought potatoes, spring onions, asparagus, spinach and lettuce. The share I had with Brad’s for early spring ended two weeks ago and the share I have with Sunny Hill will start next week so we were in NEED of some fresh food.

Now, on to the strawberries. I took the children and my sister and we made our way to Harman’s on Rt 22 for strawberry picking yesterday. There was a bit of a break in the on and off rain that we’ve been having and I was hoping the strawberries had gotten enough sun to be ready. There were a lot of rotten ones and the flavor wasn’t quite as sweet as usual but we came home with about 14 pounds of berries anyway and it only took about an hour. I am planning to pick again on Thursday at Sunny Hill.

Aside from little M eating her bucket full on the drive home we did manage to bring home enough berries for 2 batches of freezer jam, 1 pie and two cookie sheets full to freeze. Aside from the pie, the jam and frozen berries took about an hour to prepare. I make freezer jam following the recipe in the box of lower sugar pectin. It does not use artificial sweeteners but does use less sugar than regular jams and jellies. Freezer jam requires no special equipment and is quick to make. Be sure to follow the instructions VERY carefully. This is not the time to be creative.

Freezing the berries is also an easy way to preserve them. Wash, hull and drain any water off of the berries. I lined two cookie sheets with parchment paper then arranged the berries in a single layer on the sheets. Freeze for 24 hours and put into freezer bags or vacuum bags.

Other fun things to make: strawberry short cake, homemade Jello with strawberry chunks, strawberry oatmeal, strawberry spinach salad with poppy seed dressing, strawberry yogurt, strawberry ice cream, the list goes on and on. Or, just eat them ’til you pop!

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