Jam Session

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Weighing in-We picked over 70 pounds of berries in one hour!

Strawberries are the ultimate berry – sweet, easy to pick, and useful in tons of desserts. Healthy too!

When my friends say “Let’s go and pick strawberries and make jam for everyone in one day!”,  I jumped at the chance. Call it strawberry bonding!

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The day was perfect, with a nice breeze, the temps below 80 degrees, and we started at a farm about a half hour drive early in the morning. The plants were laden with the juicy berries, and the farm provided us with wide shallow boxes so that the berries wouldn’t crush each other, and we waded in and started to pick.

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One hour later, we hauled all the berries for a weigh in and were amazed at the results – over 71 pounds at 1.60 a pound.  Seventy one pounds of berries is an impressive sight. Since a quart of berries weighs around 1.5 pounds, that adds up to almost 50 quarts of berries at the grocery store.

Just half of the berries in the back of a car

Just half of the berries in the back of a car

This is just one of our many bowls of cleaned berries

This is just one of our many bowls of cleaned berries

After cleaning and capping the berries, we followed the Certo Pectin recipe to make 8 pints of jam at a time. To add our own touch, we used a suggestion that one of the ladies had done before-adding 4 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to each batch. It added just the right touch of pizzazz to amp up the taste.  We cooked up two batches at a time on the stove top, poured it into jars, and popped them into a canner outside on a propane portable burner. We formed a production  line – washing, capping, crushing, cooking, and canning, and did I mention eating and drinking?

Crushing with a potato masher

Crushing with a potato masher

In the canner on a propane portable burner

In the canner on a propane portable burner

Cleaning and capping crew

Cleaning and capping crew

We froze some of the berries in baggies as there was no way that we could make jam of them all. The rest was made into other concoctions.

Making daiquiris- another important job!

Making daiquiris- another important job!

At the end of the day, we each went home with 7 pints of strawberry jam, 3 bulging baggies of fresh berries for freezing, and a fresh appreciation for team work!

Packaged for freezing

Packaged for freezing

The end results

The end results

One of our lady's  'family' popped in

One of our lady’s ‘family’ popped in – Isn’t she gorgeous!

About thegardendiaries

Claire Jones is a landscape and floral designer and owner of Claire Jones Landscapes, LLC. She designs and helps people to create their own personal outdoor oasis and loves to write about her gardening failures and successes.
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9 Responses to Jam Session

  1. I love the idea of doing the canning outside on the propane burner–genius! Our pickling sessions usually make our kitchen feel like a sauna. We will be pickling in the next couple of weeks, so we will press our propane burner (usually used for making beer!) into service. Thanks for the tip.

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  2. We used to go pick strawberries in sw Michigan, then my spouse would make strawberry jam with some assistance, but never the same day. Now we usually just buy a case at the farmers’s market.

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  3. Now that looks like the best way to preserve, with friends. I saw the bottle of rum on the side. Need another friend? 🙂

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  4. Monica says:

    This is such a fun outing. Really enjoyed reading the post and looking at the photos.

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  5. Hi–inspired by you, we held our most recent pickling session outside–it kept things so much cooler: http://redflannelpantry.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/canning-outdoors/
    Thanks again for the idea!

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