Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Fruits of our Labors

I'm behind in writing this, but wanted to give you a picture of our June. Our strawberry plants are in their third year, and gifted us with a steady supply of fresh fruit. It was so wonderful to have it after a long winter/spring with fruit being a rare treat. At first, we were excited with the first single strawberry that came into perfection. We picked it, photographed it, savored it. Before long we had such huge harvests that we didn't know what to do with it all. In years past, Bird would forage her way through the beds and there was little left for the rest of us, but this year even our little Bird had her fill. Our visitors were encouraged to pick their heart's delight--and still we had more than we needed. With an early and mid producing variety, we had a steady supply for weeks.

Last year's attempt at jelly put me off of such ventures, but looking at strawberry jam recipes, that looked less intensive. Grape jelly involved peeling, seeding, and boiling down the grapes, but strawberries just get hulled and mashed. It's still work to prep the strawberries and prepare and can the jam, but after a first batch we decided it was more than worth it. We did 2 batches of straight strawberry jam, and one with currants when our champagne currants came into fruit. The strawberry-currant jam is particularly delightful. I still get a bit nervous about the canning aspect, but I am so paranoid about doing everything right that I realize I have little to worry about.
As we went hulled our strawberries from huge bowls, I selected the most perfect berries to be frozen for later. I set these individually on a tray, froze them for a few hours, then put them into a freezer bag. (This method prevents them from freezing together in a great lump.) I'm looking forward to making a strawberry smoothie with our own backyard local organic straberries--in October. With a gallong bag of frozen berries, and a dozen jars of jam, we're a far cry better this year towards preserving more of our fruit, to take us further into the less productive garden months on local fruit. If we do as well with our garden goodies, we'll be in great shape.


Melicious said...

wow! how wonderful. The last couple times I've bought strawberries were disappointing so I'm happy you have such an abundance. I just started reading Animal Vegetable Miracle and really admire the whole idea of eating locally. I'm getting better at it since I've known you (though living in an urban area and not having a clue how to garden adds a little more challenge). Preserving is going to make your winter much sweeter this year : )

Anyway I'm happy for you about the strawberries. We've been getting tons of jersey blueberries from the farmers market. Eating seasonally really makes you appreciate each treat so much more.

Lu said...

yeah, yeah, yeah, nice fruit.

Did you finish Harry Potter 7 yet??


Mia said...

But of course! I finished it Monday night. Now I'm reading it again, more slowly. I need to finish the second round before I can give my full opinion. You? Good to hear from you, by the way.

Mel! It's great to see you!

Lindy said...

I finished it, and have been going back and rereading certain parts. I'm going through an emotional whirlwind.

High fives and big hugs to the kids! Hope to see you all soon!

Anonymous said...

The berries and the jam look wonderful. Grape jelly is so hard. The last time I made some with my mom and grandma, who are experts, it turned out like glue or taffy!

I've been lucky to enjoy fresh wild blackberries we picked at a friend's house and DH just brought in grapes from our vines. I can't wait for muscadines. :)