A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota Idaho, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Strawberry Jam Insanity

Since my burgeoning strawberry fields are still in their first full year, they aren't quite up to the significant production I demand of them.  And since I was gone during a critical stretch where the berry box needed to be shielded from marauding birds (with some bird netting), my own personal strawberry production was decidedly sub par this year.  How oh how was I going to make strawberry jam this year?  Well, Alycia and I were going to have to be proactive (not one of my stronger characteristics) go and fetch some berries. 

Alycia's Mom had been trying to engineer a trip from Cavalier, ND up to Altona, CA (the CA here means Canada, not California) where they've been strawberry picking before, but I adamantly said "NO!!!"  I always buy American when I can, especially my berries and my bicycles.  As luck would have it that very day, an ad was posted in the City section of the Grand Forks Herald that said "U-Pick Strawberries" and had a phone number for a local farm just West of town where we could go pick berries.
And pick berries we did.  We picked three full flats of berries, with each of us filling a five quart bucket about three times, probably around 20 to 25 pounds of strawberries. 
The third flat of berries and my trusty cauldron.  I'm pretty sure that I was a warlock or shaman or stirrer of giant industrial soups in a previous life, I really like my giant pots/cauldrons/vats.  Strange....

To say that the strawberry picking was mosquito-intensive would be the understatement of the year.  We hung in there and picked despite the swarms of skeeters and now have some delicious strawberry jam-esque substance to show for it.  I say "jam-esque" because I got a little too loosey goosey with the jam recipe and it didn't set like it should have.  (hanging head in canning failure shame)

Note to self - Jam isn't like canned applesauce, pears, or pasta sauce.  You can't just mix up a big vat/cauldron of it, you need to follow the recipe.


Karen said...

Oh, I bet the delicious aromas wafting out of your vat of strawberries was heavenly! My canning ability with them is not pretty, either, but I do manage to freeze them well, lol. What a lot of work, but you'll really enjoy them this winter.

Sara said...

I'm glad you clarified the "CA." I was sitting here, picturing a map of the U.S, trying to figure out how California could be "up" from where you are.